KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Some cities in East Tennessee have started putting burn bans into effect as drought conditions worsen.
On Sunday, both the City of Oak Ridge and the City of Loudon announced burn bans because of the dry conditions. The City of Oak Ridge added that there was smoke in the area because of nearby brush fires and a field fire that was caused by a model rocket.
Over the weekend, crews worked to battle two wild fires in Anderson County. One of the fires was reported Saturday evening and was estimated to have burned approximately 160 acres between Andy’s Ridge and Walden’s Ridge as of Sunday afternoon. The second was in a more remote location near the New River Area and had burned an estimated 500 acres but was approximately 80 percent contained Sunday evening, according to Shain Vowell with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Department of Forestry.
The WATE 6 Storm Team’s drought monitor shows extreme and severe drought levels affecting much of East Tennessee. During the next week, the storm team’s forecast shows a slight chance for rain on Thursday and Friday.
East Tennesseans should check if their city or county before starting fires. In addition to any local regulations, between October 15 and May 15, anyone looking to burn debris or have an open-air fire within 500 feet of a forest, grassland, or woodland must get a burn permit from TN Forestry.