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Fire danger limits burn permits across state today

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NASHVILLE - Burn permits will not be issued today across much of the state including counties in Middle Tennessee, the Cumberland Plateau, and parts of East and West Tennessee. A forecast for strong winds and the low relative humidity increase the risk for a controlled debris burn to become a wildfire.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry will not be issuing any burn permits online today. The Division will issue permits by phone in some counties, provided certain conditions are met. The county phone number directory is available at burnsafetn.org/phonepermit.html.

The Division of Forestry evaluates debris burning conditions daily. According to the National Weather Service in Nashville, gusty south winds exceeding 30 mph will develop today. These winds, along with low relative humidity values, will elevate fire danger conditions throughout Middle Tennessee. Rain will return to the area on Thursday, with a mix of rain and light snow possible in the Upper Cumberland Thursday evening.

A burn permit is required by law for outdoor debris burning from October 15 through May 15 and is only issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. The permit is free. If you live inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with your municipality before you burn.

When permits are issued, the following tips should be followed to conduct a safe debris burn:

• Check with local authorities to make sure there are no local restrictions on burning, especially in cities and towns that have their own burn permit system.

• Notify your local fire department and neighbors of your plans to burn.

• Do not burn on windy days and stay abreast of changing weather conditions.

• Establish control lines down to bare mineral soil at least five feet wide around burn piles.

• Keep fire containment equipment on hand during the fire (e.g. rake, shovel, water).

• Stay with the fire until it is completely out.

Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.

Since first employed in the early 1990s, the Division of Forestry's burn permitting program has successfully reduced the number of escaped debris burns by effectively communicating with citizens as to where, when, and how to conduct a safe debris burn. You will find more information about the Division and its programs at www.tn.gov/agriculture/section/forests.

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