Lack of rain poses burn hazards for NWTN

Lack of rain poses burn hazards for NWTN

Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 10:17 am
By: Ricky Stutts, TN Division of Forestry

The late summer drought is happening again! October is the driest month of the year, so this happens most every year at this time, although some years are not near as bad as others. If you have a short memory like me, you may think it has been a long time since it’s been this bad. I decided to look at my records and last year on Sept. 15 I wrote an article titled, “Area Trees Having a Rough Summer,” with this article based on last summer’s late season drought.
Last was bad, but I think this year has got it beat. According to the long range forecast, there is not much of a chance of rain for at least a couple of weeks, so it has the possibility of getting worse.
Wildfires can become a major problem during drought. What could safely burn in May and June may not be safe anymore. With this in mind, I thought I would try to inform residents of some precautions when burning during drought periods and some changes that are about to take place according to when you are reading this article, already have taken place.
The Tennessee Division of Forestry has a burning permit program, in which anyone burning out of the city limits has to have a burn permit between Oct. 15 and May 15. If you live in a city contact your city officials to determine burning laws, as each city usually has different regulations. With the on-going drought being as bad as it is, the Division of Forestry has decided to start the permit season a little earlier.
Permits started being issued on Monday, Oct. 4. To acquire a permit, simply call your local Division of Forestry office, give them some information about the burning and they will give you a permit number.
It’s free and it’s the law!
In Weakley County call 364-2541 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are not required for burning in containers such as a metal barrel with a one-half inch mesh screen cover. It is likely the Division of Forestry will stop issuing permits if the drought gets worse.
The following are a few common sense burning tips.
• Do not burn on a windy day.
• Do not burn between noon and around 5 p.m.
• Have water or equipment available in case the fire gets out of hand.
• If you are burning dozer piles or fields, make sure you have an adequate line around it. Contact any neighbors that might be concerned and consider where the smoke is headed.
In reality, if you can put off burning until we get some rain, it would be much safer.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at my office in Dresden at 364-3430 or contact your local Division of Forestry office at 364-2541.

WCP 10.05.10

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