National park trail in deadly 2016 Tennessee fire to reopen

Look at wildfire on Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Report It! Chris Higgins Photography)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – A national park trail where a remote fire started and skipped miles to contribute to a deadly blaze in Tennessee last year is largely reopening.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced Tuesday that the Chimney Tops Trail will reopen Oct. 6, the first time since the November 2016 fires that killed 14 people and caused up to $2 billion in damage in the Gatlinburg area.

Authorities have said two juveniles started a fire in the remote region, and embers rode 80-mph (130-kph) winds into Gatlinburg. The local prosecutor dropped arson charges against them because of the influence of extreme winds and downed power lines that ignited other fires.

There will be a new observation point on the trail, though the top quarter-mile section to the pinnacles remains damaged and closed.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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