KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A burn ban has been issued in Sever County and the cities of Gatlinburg and Sevierville, Pigeon Forge due to exceptionally low humidity and very high fire danger.

The ban has been issued until further notice. Any outdoor burning is prohibited including:

  • Leaves and brush
  • Fence rows and ditch banks
  • Construction debris boards, plywood, decking, cardboard, etc.
  • Fields and grassland
  • Gardens
  • Wooded areas
  • Campfires and cooking fires
  • Charcoal or wood-fired grills (does not include natural or propane gas-fired grills)
  • Burn barrels
  • Air curtain destructors
  • Fireworks

However, gas grills and gas fire pits are still permitted in Gatlinburg. According to a release from Gatlinburg, only 2.24 inches of measurable rainfall have been recorded at the weather station located at the Gatlinburg Fire Department Headquarters since September 16.

“The Gatlinburg Fire Department urges all individuals to heed this burn ban, as the recent dry weather and low humidity have led to a very high fire danger,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Charlie Cole said. “Even with the forecast of rain on Friday evening and Saturday morning, these small amounts of precipitation will not alleviate the deficit of rainfall and dry conditions that have been experienced this fall. Please continue to be vigilant and aware of the fire risk in the area.”

According to Sevier County, a violation of a ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. Violators could face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries a penalty of up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in jail.

“With the current dry conditions and low humidity values, the risk of wildfires is very high,” said Sevier County Fire & Rescue Chief David Puckett. “A single spark could ignite a wildfire that could threaten lives and property.”

This burn ban is one of many recently issued as several wildfires began amid to dry, windy conditions across East Tennessee. Due to the very high fire danger, the public is urged to make their property FireWise, including the removal of debris and leaves from around their house.

“With leaves, limbs, and other debris having a tendency to pile up during the Fall, take this time to prepare your homes and properties by removing this debris from around your house,” Chief Cole said.

Burn permits are required in Gatlinburg for any outdoor burning year-round. For information on burn permits, please contact the Gatlinburg Fire Department at 865-436-5112.