NASHVILLE – State Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson has issued a burn ban for Cheatham, Dickson, Gibson, Giles, Marshall, Maury and Sumner counties. The burn ban is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.
The ban applies to all open-air burning including leaf and woody debris and construction burning, campfires, outdoor grills and other fire activity outside of municipalities where local ordinances apply.
Under state law, the commissioner of agriculture, in consultation with the state forester, has the authority to issue burn bans at the request of county mayors under certain weather conditions. Requests from county mayors for a burn ban are considered in consultation with the state forester based on a number of factors including weather, climate, fire danger, fire occurrence and resource availability.
“We’re working with local officials to take action when requested and where appropriate to reduce the risk to citizens, property and emergency workers,” Johnson said. “With the extremely dry conditions and little prospect for rain anytime soon, we want to encourage the public to use good judgment and to avoid situations that can cause fire, even in areas not covered under a burn ban.”
A violation of a Commissioner of Agriculture Burn Ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.
The burn ban does not prohibit the use of fireworks. However, citizens should check for local restrictions and are encouraged to attend public displays as an alternative to shooting fireworks themselves for the Fourth of July holiday.
In areas not under a burn ban, the public is asked to refrain from debris burning until significant precipitation is received and to avoid other activities that could cause fire.
State and local firefighters are seeing an increase in fire activity statewide. Major causes include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, escaped debris burns, discarded cigarettes, lightening, campfires, arson and fireworks. Citizens can help support their local fire departments by checking for and following local burn restrictions and quickly reporting any wildfire.
Counties currently under a burn ban, additional fire safety tips and wildfire information can be found on the TDA Division of Forestry’s wildfire prevention website at www.burnsafetn.org.
Note: A press release from TDA will not necessarily be released for each new county added to the list of the Commissioner of Agriculture Burn Bans. Please check www.burnsafetn.org for updated information.