State officials issue burn ban for four Tennessee counties

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A burn ban has been issued for four Tennessee counties by the state’s agriculture commissioner.

Commissioner Jai Templton says the ban is effective immediately for Claiborne, Jefferson, Loudon and Sevier counties.

It will remain in effect until further notice.

The ban applies to all open-air burning, including leaf and woody debris as well as construction burning, campfires, outdoor grills, and other outdoor activity.

Counties not listed under the ban require a safe debris burning permit now through May 15, 2017 from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Division of Forestry. The only exceptions are Davidson, Knox, Madison and Shelby counties, which never allow debris burning.

Permits will only be issued where and when it is determined to be safe to do so. Click here to read more about the burn permit.

Also on Friday, the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet has extended their burn ban until Nov. 11 “due to extraordinary dry conditions and unseasonable temperatuires. City officials say during the burn ban, burn permits will not be issued and burning outdoors is strictly prohibited.

“Due to dry conditions and little prospect for rain, firefighters are seeing an increase in fire activity across the state,” Commissioner Templeton said. “The public should use good judgment and avoid situations that cause fire and put citizens, property and emergency workers at risk.”

A violation of a burn ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.

Major causes of fire so far this fall include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, escaped campfires, and arson.

Current county burn bans, additional fire safety tips and wildfire information can be found on the TDA Division of Forestry’s wildfire prevention website at BurnSafeTN.org.