Burn permits required before the start of fire season, Oct. 15

Burn permits required before the start of fire season, Oct. 15

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So far in 2012, officials said Tennessee has had approximately 780 fires statewide. So far in 2012, officials said Tennessee has had approximately 780 fires statewide.
Waters said the most important thing people can do is check their fires before they leave to make sure they're completely out. Waters said the most important thing people can do is check their fires before they leave to make sure they're completely out.
In the fall, leaves falling to the ground increase the risk of a fire. In the fall, leaves falling to the ground increase the risk of a fire.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Fire season begins next week in East Tennessee, meaning residents who want to do any type of outdoor burning, like getting rid of brush piles, must obtain a burn permit from the state.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is issuing them now.

Fire season runs from Oct. 15 through May 15 in the region because it's typically the driest time of year.

So far in 2012, hundreds of outdoor fires have already sparked.

"We have had approximately 780 fires statewide that have burned over 6,000 acres," said Assistant District Forester Nathan Waters of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division.

In the fall, leaves falling to the ground increase the risk of a fire.

"With the leaves coming off the trees, the potential to burn goes up because the forest floor is opened up to the sun. It'll dry out quicker. Wind will blow through it and it dries out the leaves," said Waters.

There are two ways to obtain a free burn permit.

Residents can call the forestry office in their county. For the first time, residents can also register online for a permit by visiting this website.

The state also has a list of safety guidelines for anyone planning to do an outdoor.

They include:

  • Never burn next to a forest of grassland
  • Watch the wind
  • Have tools and help on hand to contain the fire
  • Dig a line down to mineral soil around the fire
  • Notify your neighbors
  • Do not leave your fire until it is completely out

 The last tip is one of the most important.

"Reach down and feel it and make sure that it's completely out because you don't want to walk away. A lot of times if we have wind at night or something like that, the fire could flare back up," said Waters.

As for the predicted severity of this year's fire season, Waters said it's still too early to tell.

For most counties in East Tennessee, a burn permit is only required during fire season. In Knox County, however, burn permits are required year round because of air pollution.

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