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Possible Arson Case Under Investigation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Park rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are asking for the public’s help to solve a possible arson case. 

Investigators say the incident happened Tuesday afternoon Off Laurel Creek Road, near the Crib Gap Trail. The trail is on the Tennesee side of the park. Fortunately, crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly. However, park rangers believe the incident may be a case of arson.

So far, officials have not released any additional details besides a brief press release.

History of Arson in the Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by far the most visited national park in the U.S. While the area is best known for its thick pines, rolling hills, and plentiful wildlife, the park has a history of arson cases. Some of these incidents were in the last few years.

The National Park Service said two arson cases were under investigation in November last year. There was extra concern this past year as parts of the Appalachian Mountains struggled with drought. 

However, one of the most infamous fires in the park came in 2016 when a string of fires broke out, including the Chimney Tops 2 Fire. The blaze burned more than 20,000 acres. As a result of the fire, 14 people died outside of the park.

The events were the deadliest fire in the history of Tennesee. Police arrested two juveniles, but the charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence. No one else has been charged in the fire.

fires in great smoky mountains national park
The 2016 Chimney Tops 2 fire. (Source: NPS)

Share a Tip

If you or someone you know were in the area around 6 p.m. on February 6, 2024, you’re asked to submit a tip by calling  888-653-0009 or 865-436-1230, or using this online form to share information.

The NPS says the tipline has helped with multiple cases, incidents, and other issues within the park. They have received thousands of tips over the years.

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