Park Service Will Try Again To Conduct Controlled Burn at Cataloochee

The National Park Service will again try a controlled burn on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains this weekend.

Previous attempts to set the fires in the Cataloochee Valley have been postponed because of low humidity, stiff winds or other factors. The fire is intended to burn underbrush and forest floor litter in a 530-acre area.

Park biologists want to create additional forage and habitat for the park's experimental elk herd. Officials also want to improve conditions for fire-tolerant trees, including black, scarlet and chestnut oaks and various hickory species.

Firefighters and other park personnel will be in place tomorrow morning and -- if weather conditions are right -- they'll set the fires.