Smokies officials want only heat-treated firewood in the park

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is accepting public comment on a proposal to allow only heat-treated wood to be brought in for campground fires.

According to the park, the proposal aims to limit the spread of non-native, tree-killing insects. These insects have the potential to devastate wildlife habitat, park biodiversity and scenic views.

A final decision is expected by the end of the year. If adopted, the regulation would go into effect March 2015. But park officials are asking visitors to go ahead and make the switch now.

The public may submit comments by mail to 107 Park Headquarters Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738 or by email to grsmcomments(at) Comment cards are available at visitor centers and campgrounds.

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