On November 1, three fires were suppressed by the Division of Forestry in the Knoxville area. A small (.5 acre) arson fire was reported off Wilhite Rd in Sevier CO at 8:30am, about the same time a small (.1 acre) escaped debris fire was reported on Hiwassee Rd in Monroe Co. Both of these fires were quickly put out. A large (200 + acre) arson fire was reported at 3:30pm on the Foothills Parkway in Blount Co. State Forestry crews from Blount, Loudon and Monroe Counties, as well as National Park Service personnel and the Blount Co fire dept worked on the fire until appx 11:00pm last night, and returning to continue suppression efforts this morning.
Dry conditions continue across the state. Persons are urged to consider other options than burning for leaves and brush this year. Consider chipping, mulching and composting, or even wildlife habitat. Anyone with information on arson fires is encouraged to call their local Forestry Office, a reward of up to $1500.00 is available for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any arsonist.
No burn permits will be issued today or this weekend for Blount, Monroe or Loudon Counties. Remember that from October 15th thru May 15th , all persons doing outdoor burning in Tennessee are required to obtain a burn permit from the Tennessee Dept of Agriculture, Forestry Division. Burning without a permit during this time period is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $50.00 fine. To obtain a permit in Knox county, call Air Pollution Control at 215-5900, and in all other counties call your local forestry office Monday thru Friday, between 8am and 4:30pm. The burn permit from Forestry is FREE, but Knox county residence should be aware that the Knox Air Pollution permit is REQUIRED ALL YEAR ROUND. Remember that YOU are responsible for your fire and any damages incurred should it escape, as well as liable for suppression costs from state Forestry AND any fire departments that have to put out the escaped fire. If you have questions about burning conditions or how to maintain a safe fire, or if you have information about arson fires, contact your county Forestry office.
Finally, if you live in or near the forest or in the "Wildland Urban Interface", take time to make sure that your home or property can survive a wildfire. The easiest way to get started in to go to the State Forestry Divisions website and download the free FIREWISE brochure at the following website: http://www.state.tn.us/agriculture/forestry/lit/firewise.pdf . Remember, you as a homeowner have the prime responsibility for your homes safety, and if firefighters are unable to defend a structure without putting themselves in danger, it would be more likely to burn.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.