• Great Smoky Mountains park ends backcountry campfire ban

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park has lifted a ban on backcountry campfires.

    Parks officials say in a news release that they ended the ban Tuesday after it was put in place Sept. 26. Officials say that recent rain and cooler temperatures in the last couple of weeks have lowered drought risks and fire danger in the park.

    Much of the park remains in the moderate drought category. Officials are reminding visitors to confine fires to designated campfire rings and grills and extinguish fires by mixing water with embers.

    Officials also say many of the springs in higher elevations are running significantly slower than usual and several campsites are without water. Backpackers are encouraged to carry extra water for sites not along major water sources.

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