Brush fires keep firefighters busy

Sinclaire Sparkman • Feb 17, 2017 at 10:44 PM

Wilson County Emergency Management Agency firefighters responded to eight out-of-control brush fires Friday. 

One fire burned 40 acres and caused damage to private property. Relative low humidity caused WEMA officials to say they do not suggest burning at this time. 

A burn ban is not currently in effect, but people who wish to burn must get a burn permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division. Tennessee law says, until May 15, anyone starting an open-air fire within 500 feet of a forest, grassland or woodland must secure a burn permit from the Division of Forestry. Local ordinances also regulate burning. 

WEMA officials said a burn permit from the state forestry division is required in order to burn in Wilson County.

Once a burn permit is secured, let the local fire department know of plans to burn by calling or filling out an online form. 

WEMA officials said the best time to burn would be after sunset when the humidity rises into the upper 30s, and only burn within the timeframe the burn permit allows. 

“If you feel uneasy about burning, please don’t,” WEMA officials said. 

Permits from the Division of Forestry are free and cover brush and leaf fires 8 by 8 feet or smaller. Permits are available online at burnsafetn.org from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. until May 15.  

Other than obtaining a burn permit and notifying the local fire department, a few safety tips are recommended. 

Do not burn on windy days.

Establish wide control lines around burn area, meaning clear any flammable debris at least five feet from burn area.

Keep fire containment equipment, such as a rake, water, shovel, on hand.

Stay with the fire until it is completely out.  

Avoid burning where smoke could be bothersome to neighbors or sensitive locations such as highways. 

Items that are not legal to burn in Tennessee include tires and other rubber products, plastics, paper products and cardboard, paints and chemicals, aerosol and food cans, mobile homes and buildings, building materials, copper and electrical wires, household trash, garbage, asphalt, shingles and oils, clothing and furniture.

For more information contact the Wilson Emergency Management Agency at 615-444-8799.

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