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Firefighters respond to eight brush fires during weekend

Jared Felkins • Dec 11, 2016 at 11:50 PM

Wilson Emergency Management Agency firefighters responded to eight grass and brush fires, as well as a structure fire, from Friday through Sunday, and officials reminded residents not to burn outside without a permit despite a recent burn ban lift.

WEMA director Joey Cooper said relative humidity levels dropped to 27 percent during the weekend, which caused grass and leaves to further dry out despite wet soil.

The structure fire broke out Friday in a detached garage at a home at 10601 Central Pike. Firefighters put the chimney fire out from a wood burning stove with some overhaul of the area around the flue. Firefighters arrived to find the homeowner trying to put the fire out with a garden hose. Cooper said minimal damage was done to the garage.

Firefighters fought four grass and brush fires Saturday and as many on Sunday. The first was a medium-size outside rubbish fire at 390 Bethlehem Road. The second was at 586 Old Hunters Point Pike that burned ¼ acre and took 600 gallons of water to put it out.

The third was an outside rubbish fire at 4812 Wayside Drive. The homeowner was burning a small pile of leaves without a burn permit when it got out of control. The fourth was a field fire at 1720 Walnut Grove Road. An acre and a half burned, which firefighters believed was caused from a fire pit used the night before.

On Sunday, firefighters took on a grass fire at 3152 Hunters Point Pike that burned a 50-square-feet area caused by a fire pit. An outside rubbish fire was also reported at 4812 after a homeowner was burning a small pile of leaves. The resident was watching the fire, but didn’t have a permit and was told to put the fire out with his garden hose.

Firefighters battled a grass fire at 504 Amber Drive that burned about an acre of land. The homeowner was burning papers, which caught leaves on fire. It’s uncertain whether the homeowner had a permit.

Firefighters also fought a grass fire at 3114 Palmer Place, where less than ¼ acre burned. It appeared to be started by an unattended burning pile of leaves.

Although Wilson County rescinded the open burn ban, Cooper said residents must still get a burn permit through the state Division of Forestry.

When burning, the fire must be attended throughout.

Cooper said residents shouldn’t burn on windy days because it can cause embers to travel.

If a burn permit is retained, the nearest fire department should be notified with the burn permit number, day of burn and contact information.

“Although we have had rain, we remain in a drought condition, and vegetation is still considered dry, which will fuel a fire,” Cooper said.

He said there are to requirements to get a burn permit. First, a permit can be found at burnsafetn.org. Second, make sure to notify the nearest fire department. Outside city limits, that can be done at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScXK8TVDrJJB3rf6b5-mjt8_z77xr1yhbWli7ZKhXUv6toxuQ/viewform.

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