NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Amid concerns about the recent dry weather conditions posing a fall fire hazard, several areas in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky have issued burn bans.
Here is a list of cities and counties in those two states that implemented burn bans this week:
As a result of Middle Tennessee’s “persistent drought conditions,” the City of Brentwood announced on Tuesday, Oct. 4 that the issuance of burn permits for open burning has been suspended until the area receives a measurable amount of rainfall.
Brentwood Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal Jeff Pender said, “The prolonged dry weather, combined with windy conditions means that permit-required open burning cannot be conducted safely. Until further notice, we cannot safely allow open burning in Brentwood.”
The city said the ban does not apply to commercial businesses that use air curtain destructors under supervised and controlled environments.
Meanwhile, Brentwood fire officials are expected to continue monitoring local conditions so they can notify residents and businesses when they lift the burn ban.
Barren County, Kentucky
Due to the excessive dryness and fire hazard conditions, as well as concerns from local volunteer fire departments, Barren County Judge/Executive Micheal Hale has signed an executive order banning open burning as of Wednesday, Oct. 5.
According to officials, with the exception of campfires in established campgrounds, nobody is allowed to light or maintain an open fire at any location in Barren County until further notice. Any person violating this ban faces fines and penalties.
Bowling Green and Warren County, Kentucky
Warren County Judge/Executive Michael Buchanon issued a county-wide order on Friday, Oct. 7 that bans all open burning, citing the dry conditions and the potential for a fire hazard. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office posted the full order — which is included below — on Facebook.
According to the Bowling Green Fire Department, the outdoor burning ban also applies to Bowling Green city limits.
Amid persistent dry conditions, as well as little to no humidity, the City of Dickson decided to ban all outdoor burning, effective immediately, until the area receives significant rainfall, according to a statement released on Thursday, Oct. 6.
Fire Marshal Robby Street with the Dickson Fire Department announced the burn ban after assessing the continuing drought conditions, dry vegetation, and low humidity, determining that the risk to life and property has reached a critical stage.
“With only brief showers during the last few weeks, conditions in the City of Dickson have deteriorated to the point that we don’t believe we can safely allow any outdoor burning,” Street said. “The fire department will not issue any burn permits or sanction any outdoor burning until we see a good, prolonged, soaking rain that will reduce the risk.”
Officials said the ban applies to any outdoor fires, including the burning of leaves, brush, debris, trash, campfires, bonfires, and even screened barrels within city limits. However, municipalities with full-time fire departments regulate burning within those jurisdictions.
According to Thursday’s news release, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, which regulates burning outside of localities with full-time fire departments, will start requiring permits for all outdoor burning in areas without other regulations on Saturday, Oct. 15. For more information on current conditions and permit requirements, follow this link.
“Right now conditions are bad enough that the smallest ember can start a grass fire that could threaten structures and lives,” Street said. “We also urge residents to be extremely careful discarding cigarettes and other smoking materials.”
On Thursday, Dickson officials reported the National Weather Service’s forecast for the city includes drought conditions with low humidity and winds around eight to 10 mph, along with a less than 10% chance of scattered showers over the next seven to 10 days.
The Dickson Municipal Code reportedly requires city residents to obtain a free permit from the fire department before doing any outdoor burning. This permit is not only free, but it allows fire officials to monitor conditions and control when and where burning takes place. For more information about the permit, call the fire department at 615-446-6331.
According to the City of Gallatin, the Gallatin Fire Department has advised residents, visitors, and businesses to refrain from open burning due to the extremely dry weather conditions.
“The Gallatin Fire Department will not issue any burn permits for open burning until the area receives enough rain to impact the current dry conditions across Tennessee,” city officials wrote on Facebook on Friday, Oct. 7. “Any open burning requires a permit from the City of Gallatin Fire Department.”
The Hendersonville Fire Department announced that a burn ban has been issued within city limits starting Friday, Oct. 7. This will remain in effect until the area receives a substantial amount of rain.
According to a Facebook post from the Lebanon Fire Department on Wednesday, Oct. 5, the city is issuing a burn ban until further notice because of the ongoing dry conditions.
Fire officials also reminded community members that the only thing you’re allowed to burn within Lebanon city limits is natural vegetation, but you can only do it after obtaining a burn permit. This applies to both residential and commercial properties year-round.
If you want a residential or commercial burn permit, you are asked to call the Lebanon Fire Department administrative offices at 615-443-2903 or visit 520 Coles Ferry Pike.
Nolensville Fire and Rescue reminded community members on Saturday, Oct. 8 that the town’s burn ban — which was announced the week before — is still in place until the area sees some rainfall and less wind.
“After careful review and interpretation of the ordinance, small contained fires for cooking or recreation are allowed (small logs for bonfire to warm or cook over in a pit or barbecue),” the fire department wrote on Facebook, adding that the ban does not allow burning leaves or brush to clear land.
Because of dry and unsafe conditions in the area, the Mt. Juliet Fire Department announced on Sunday, Oct. 9 that a burn ban has been issued in the city until further notice.
Murfreesboro and Rutherford County
According to officials, fire marshals from both Rutherford County Fire and Rescue and the Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department have issued a ban on open burning, effective from Friday, Oct. 7 until a time when conditions improve.
Rutherford County said the “prolonged period without rainfall” combined with “abnormally dry atmospheric conditions” led the fire marshals in both localities to issue the ban.
In addition, the county has reportedly seen a significant spike in brush and grass fires in recent days.
Fire officials reminded community members that open burning in violation of the ban can result in rapidly-spreading fires, leading to serious property damage, injuries, or death.
If you want more information about this burn ban, you are asked to call the Rutherford County Fire Marshal’s Office at 615-907-3600 or the City of Murfreesboro Fire Marshal’s Office at 615-849-2605.
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Simpson County, Kentucky
Franklin-Simpson Fire-Rescue posted a picture of an executive order banning all open burning — including lighting of fireworks and burning any material outdoors — in Simpson County starting Friday, Oct. 7.
“The lack of rain in recent weeks has produced dry conditions in area grasslands and woodlands, lawns and shrubbery, and crop areas which poses an increased risk of damage from wildfires, caused by open burning and fireworks,” the order stated.
According to the order, violating this ban — which will remain in effect until there is enough rainfall to counteract these hazardous conditions — will lead to penalties between $50 and $500.
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.