KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County has issued a burn ban until further notice amid a local air quality alert and a drop in rainfall.
The Knox County Department of Air Quality Management said Monday morning that open burns in the county are banned until further notice. “Open burning” is defined as a fire where any material is burned on the ground or in an open container that is not connected to a stack or chimney. Campfires are considered open burning.
Violators of the open burning regulations may be fined up to $25,000 per day per violation, according to the department.
An air quality alert was issued for Knoxville and the surrounding areas on Sunday, meaning those with lung disease, breathing problems such as asthma or COPD, as well as young children and seniors may experience breathing difficulties. Sunday’s alert was in the ‘orange’ level of the Air Quality Index with pollutant levels rated between 101 and 150.
Another air quality alert was issued Monday as the Environmental Protection Agency’s official air quality site had Knoxville rated in the moderate range for pollutant levels between 50 and 100.
Air quality alert days are not uncommon during the summer or during extended periods of high pressure, like we are currently experiencing. High pressure often creates hot conditions, light winds and a more stagnant air mass, which can produce more ground-level ozone.