by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
MORRISON, Tenn. - You usually think of the summer months as being a dangerous time to burn brush or piles of debris outside. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture warns now is actually the worst time of year. In fact, brush fires have already burned thousands of acres across the state.
Like many of us,Tennessee Forestry Technician Steven Rogers can't wait for spring like temperatures to stick around. To him warmer weather is not for comfort, it's all about safety.
"One of our biggest problems that we have here in the Midstate is sage grass, sage broom. This stuff is really volatile," he said.
It's the reason why Rogers has responded to so many brush fires already this year. The number of fires hasn't necessarily increased but the damage has. Already nearly 9,000 acres have been burned across the state because of these dry conditions.
"The fires that we get are just started by somebody that's just burning their leaves, or burning their brush or something like that," Rogers explained.
He says people are not taking precautions by digging around the fire or having a hose nearby. Add to that dry temperatures and it quickly gets out of control.
The increased danger is why burn permits are required by the state from October to May. When conditions are not favorable, permits are not issued.
Many of the fires Rogers has responded to have resulted in citations that include fines, a requirement to pay court costs and possible jail time.
For more information: burnsafetn.org