DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — As drought conditions continue to worsen, more and more cities and counties across Middle Tennessee are issuing burn bans.
The Nashville Fire Department (NFD) announced Monday that all Davidson County residents are prohibited from burning items outside. This is all to prevent brush fires that have been popping up across the state over the last several days.
“We responded to 46 fires over the weekend that burned just less than 1,200 acres,” said Tim Phelps.
Phelps, who is part of the Tennessee Division of Forestry, said fires have kept them and other fire agencies busy these last two days.
“The ground conditions this year are a little bit worse,” he said. “We have extreme drought right now in much parts of the state.”
Drought coupled with winds, low humidity, and more leaves can turn into a dangerous combination.
“It’s a beautiful time of year, (with) beautiful fall color,” said Phelps. “Well, those dry leaves are a very fine fuel and it’s typically what puts us at a higher risk this time of year.”
Despite these conditions, Phelps said fire numbers are still relatively low.
“Overall we have been seeing some fire, but our folks have been able to respond to it,” he said. “Because of the conditions, fuel moistures and that nature, they haven’t been too awful bad for us yet.”
Over in Williamson County, fire coordinator Jay Bronson said they are monitoring areas across the county.
“I would almost say the southern three quarters of Williamson County is considered in a drought situation right now,” he said.
Bronson said despite the county being under a burn restriction, they are seeing an increase in fire calls.
“We’re seeing a 155% increase in brush fires with 28 reports of fires just in October,” he said. “The first six…days of November, just in our county we’ve seen 17 calls, and that was after they announced the burn restrictions.”
While most fire agencies continue to monitor conditions, Phelps hopes people will be mindful of their actions and how it could start a potential fire.
“It all affects the fire triangle of fuel, heat and oxygen,” he said. “Any of those elements that we can take out of that triangle, we can reduce the chance of fire.”
The state of Tennessee currently requires burn permits from now until May 15, 2024, for areas that are currently not under burn bans or restrictions.
While burning items outside is currently prohibited in Davidson County, the NFD said portable fireplaces are legal in Nashville for use at one and two-family homes.
Residents at one and two-family homes may use portable outdoor fireplaces under the following conditions:
- They must be constructed of steel, concrete, clay, or other noncombustible material.
- They should be kept at least 15 feet from the dwelling.
- Use only solid fuels like firewood.
- Must be always attended by a responsible person with means for extinguishing the fire available immediately at hand.
Portable fireplaces and grills are not allowed on porches and decks at multifamily homes, such as condos and apartments.