Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday issued a proclamation declaring a regional ban on burning in 51 counties in response to the ongoing drought and destructive wildfires throughout Middle and East Tennessee.
All eastern Tennessee counties are now under the burn ban. The counties include Anderson, Campbell, Loudon, Knox, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Union.
Effective immediately, residents in counties covered by the regional ban are not permitted to conduct any open-air burning, a press release said. The ban includes campfires, and burning of brush, vegetation, household waste, or construction debris. The ban will remain in effect until December 15. The counties under the ban are listed below.
On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry was fighting 67 wildfires across nearly 16,000 acres in the Cumberland and East Tennessee districts.
One of the largest active fires in the area was a 2,432-acre fire on White Oak Circle in Morgan County. That fire was caused by arson, according to the Division of Forestry. That fire appears to be northwest of Harriman and Oakdale.
As previously reported by Oak Ridge Today, there have been six fires in north Anderson County that have burned more than 4,200 acres. Five of those fires were determined to be arsons.
State and local officials have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Del Rio, east of Newport near the Tennessee-North Carolina border, to discuss the wildfires in East Tennessee.
“Representatives from several agencies will address efforts to preserve property and protect lives during the wildfire fight,” a media advisory said. “We will also share new information regarding the ongoing arson investigations.”
Among those scheduled to be at the press conference are Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton, Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey, and State Forester Jere Jeter.
You can access statewide wildfire updates twice each day at www.burnsafetn.org, and https://www.facebook.com/TNAgriculture/, and https://twitter.com/TNAgriculture. The BurnSafeTN.org website includes links to a list of active fires and a fire map.
State officials said a violation of a burn ban is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months, 29 days in jail.
Robertson and Sumner counties continue to be under a burn ban issued by Templeton. A governor’s ban includes municipalities, whereas a commissioner’s ban is superseded by municipal ordinances.
Residents in counties not included under any of the current bans must obtain a safe debris burning permit to burn brush, vegetation, household waste, or construction waste. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, however, does not expect to issue any permits until the state receives substantial precipitation. A violation of burning without a permit is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $50 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
Daily updates on the wildfire situation, active burn bans and tips to protect your home and property can be found at www.burnsafetn.org.
Here are the counties under a regional burn ban:
- Van Buren
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