Forestry officials warn of high fire danger

11:26 AM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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Our beautiful fall weather means a higher fire danger in East Tennessee.

According to the Division of Forestry, crews were working on brush or wildfires in six different counties on Monday: Hawkins, Scott, Grainger, Hancock, Campbell and Knox.

The largest fire is still burning on Short Mountain near Rogersville.  Approximately 2000 acres has burned so far. Division of Forestry crews are there working to complete fire lines, and the Hawkins County EMA and fire departments are involved with structure protection, evacuation possibilities, and also assisting with fire containment.  There were at least two additional fires near the Hawkins County fire in Hawkins and Grainger Counties, and all three are suspected arson.

So far this year, over 950 wildfires have burned over 11,100 acres.  A third of those were intentionally started.  Woods arson is a class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal's Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.

The low humidity and no rain, along with expected winds from an approaching front will keep the fire risk at a high level.

You do need a burn permit for any outdoor burning right now, and many counties will be restricting those through the weekend because of the fire danger.

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