KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – A burn ban is now in effect for the city of Kingsport.
According to Fire Marshal Robert Sluss, the burn ban is in effect as of October 3.
Violators will be subject to a fine if they are caught burning brush or starting recreational fires.
Types of recreational fires include campfires, bonfires and fire pits.
“Rarely do we ever issue our own separate burn ban,” said Kingsport Fire Department’s Assistant Chief of Operation Darrell Hayes, “but this has been one of the driest months on record and one of the hottest months on record, so it’s definitely needed.”
The burn ban affects all areas inside the city limits of Kingsport, including Bays Mountain, and will remain in effect until further notice.
Barry Brickey with the Kingsport Fire Department said the recent wind could make fires spread quickly.
“With the conditions the way they are,” he said, “we could quickly have a small fire turn into a big fire and it may even be able to consume some woods or even multiple homes.”
Brickey said a small flame on a dry leaf or piece of grass could have devastating consequences.
“This time of year, there’s a lot of leaves starting to fall,” he added, “you could get leaves up close to your house maybe even inside your mulch and that could go really fast if it were to catch on fire.”
The Kingsport Fire Department has seen three different incidents involving these types of fires recently.
“In the past couple of days we’ve had an increase in grass type of fires or fires that are related to outdoor type of burning,” said Hayes.
While open burning and recreational fires are prohibited, cooking with propane and charcoal grills is allowed during the burn ban.
“Things are just getting so dry that it’s just too much of a risk to allow the burning to continue as far as recreational fires and any type of brush fires that are within the codes of what we can allow inside the city,” said Hayes.
The ban could be reduced if moisture conditions are favorable.
If you do encounter fire in coming days, Brickey said to contact them immediately.
The City of Kingsport will provide leaf collection starting October 14th, which can serve as an alternative to open burning.
More information for leaf collection can be found on the city’s website.
Those seeking more information about the burn ban can contact the Kingsport Fire Marshal’s Office at (423) 229-9440.