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TN Forestry and Local Volunteers Fight Two Wildfires in One Week

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The Tennessee Department of Forestry, along with at least three local Volunteer Fire Departments, were called out to battle two forest fires in the county last week.

On Wednesday, March 13, a fire was spotted off Tie Camp Road east of Waynesboro. The fire spread quickly in the dry conditions Wayne County is still experiencing. The Tennessee Department of Forestry brought four dozers to cut lines in order to contain the fire, which was battled by volunteer firefighters from Station 1 (Waynesboro), Station 7 (Topsy), and Station (Ovilla). This fire ultimately consumed 87 acres in the Tie Camp/Upper Factory Creek area before being cut off and controlled. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

On Thursday, March 14, the Tennessee Department of Forestry was called out once again to battle a wildfire that ultimately consumed 35 acres off Highway 64 East near Waynesboro. This fire took place in an area of planted pines, and as with the fire the previous day, no homes nor structures were affected. It is a blessing that no structures were damaged in either fire, even though some were in peril before the fires were contained. The cause of this fire is still undetermined as well.

A spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Forestry stressed that citizens need to acquire a burn permit before attempting to burn anything in Wayne County. We are still under drought conditions, and as the two fires last week showed us, the term “spread like a wildfire” is very accurate.

Burning permits focus attention on the safe use of fire. From October 15 through May 15, anyone starting an open-air fire within 500 feet of a forest, grassland, or woodland must by law secure a burning permit from the Division of Forestry. Permits are not required for burning in containers such as a metal barrel with a ½” mesh screen cover. Permits will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn.

Burn permit applications are available online at https://agriculture.tn.gov/OnlineBurnPermitPublic. Residents with limited internet access may call the Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Central Time. Callers may experience lengthy wait times when call volume is high, so online applications are encouraged whenever possible.

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