Johnson City

Fire danger stops burn permits

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - A forest fire in Hawkins County charred 2,000 acres on Short Mountain last week.

Officials say the conditions that helped this fire spread are perfect examples of why outdoor burning is currently prohibited. "The woods are dry we went week and one half without rain," says Brock Campbell with the Tennessee Department of Forestry. "The frost and low temperatures in the morning dry things out."

According to the Department of Forestry, the dry conditions have helped fuel 62 fires across Northeast Tennessee this month and burned more than 6,300 acres.

Firefighters say flames spread quickly right now.

We are just a little over a month into fire season. Residents are required to get a burn permit for any outdoor burning through May 15, but those permits are on hold. "Knoxville to Mountain City is not issuing permits due to the dry conditions, so no outdoor burning is occurring at all," says Campbell.

The ban will continue through at least this weekend.

State forestry officials say residents should check with their local forestry offices next week to find out if burn permits are being issued.

Forestry officials remind residents that a woods arson fire is considered a Class C felony. A person convicted of setting the fire can receive up to 15 years in prison and face a $10,000 fine.

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