The National Weather Service in Morristown is discouraging people from burning due to dry weather and gusty winds. 

The NWS put out a message Tuesday warning people in East Tennessee, extreme Southwest North Carolina, and extreme Southwest Virginia from burning that day because there was an increase potential for fire growth and spread. 

Andrew Pritchett, a NWS senior meteorologist, said that the area was not under an elevated fire danger Wednesday since parts of the Knoxville area saw light rain overnight, but the potential for fires to spread could continue with mostly dry weather expected through at least Friday. 

"We're not a tinderbox like we were last fall, but as we saw in the case of Gatlinburg, if the right conditions were to come in place, some strong winds and some dry fuels, bad things can happen," Pritchett said. 

Wildfires continue to burn in Pasco County, Florida, near Tampa. Pritchett said the weather impacting Florida is not unlike the weather East Tennessee experienced last fall. 

"The conditions that they had there, the drought, is actually kind of similar in some ways to what we had up here last year," he said. 

He said the wildfires in Florida are the climax of a wet spring last year that led to new vegetation. The new growth dried out in the fall and winter with very little rain. 

East Tennessee did receive rain over the winter, which has helped parts of the area to get out of the drought conditions. However, Pritchett said the southeastern-most parts of the state are still under a moderate to severe drought. 
 
"We're not completely out of the woods," he said. 
 
Pritchett warns against careless burning in the dry, windy conditions because it could lead to a small fire getting out of hand. 
 
"That could lead to potentially a wildfire to form," he said. "Nothing necessarily big, but the potential is there." 
 
Check burnsafetn.org if burn permits are being issued in your area if you have concerns.