Ban On Outdoor Burning

Grass fire causes home to go up in flames... By Barry West

State officials are urging citizens to take fire precautions for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is asking the public to refrain from debris burning until significant precipitation is received and to avoid other activities that could cause fire. Burning permits are required by the state Division of Forestry only during official fire season, Oct. 15 through May 15. However, the number of fires statewide has increased since mid-June due to the unusually hot, dry conditions. Forestry officials say that in addition to escaped debris fires, major causes include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, discarded cigarettes, lightening, campfires and arson. Woods arson is a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017. Additional fire safety tips, as well as up-to-date wildfire information, can be found on the TDA Division of Forestry’s wildfire prevention website at Manchester and Tullahoma have issued a ban on outdoor open burning until further notice.