KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Severe weather hit parts of the midwest and south including right here in East Tennessee over the weekend. While tornadoes were a big fear farther west, the destructive winds caused another concern in East Tennessee: brush fires.

Rural Metro Fire Department responded to at least 20 brush fires this weekend. Jeff Bagwell, the public information officer for the Rural Fire Metro Department believes the rain on Friday night and wind on Saturday contributed to multiple fires.

“Those trees were still in some pretty soft soil,” Bagwell said. “When the heavy winds came it just blew the trees over onto the powerlines causing them the snap come down on the ground which caught them on fire. “

The department called in additional crew members to assist with the calls.

“We actually called in additional crews to staff water tenders that maybe weren’t staffed and additional apparatus as well,” Bagwell said.

The wind was not only dangerous for people and structures but also added an extra layer of difficulty for fire crews.

“With wind, you worry about the direction of the fire, what’s in its path whether that be houses, cars, sheds, outbuildings, farms, whatever, you want to try and get ahead of it,” Bagwell said. “At the same time, you don’t want to get ahead of it to where you endanger yourself because with the gusts of winds that we have, that was a concern.”

Bagwell said the department trains for brush fires year around. He believes the key is not only their training but educating people.

“Everybody will want to clean up their yard, they want to do yardwork, they want to do burning. So we try to educate people, training wise we do the same year around. Education comes down, to educating people that they have to get a burn permit through the county.”

Rural Metro wasn’t the only department responding to brush fires this weekend. The Knoxville Fire Department responded to three brush fires and Sevier County Fire and Rescue responded to 21 brush fires due to the windy conditions.