Tennessee saw a record low number of wildfires last year.
The State Department of Forestry said 351 wildfires scorched just over 3,800 acres in 2018. That’s about half as many wildfires and burned acreage than 2017.
Assistant District Forester Jim Dale said favorable weather led to the decrease, along with citizens choosing to safely burn debris.
“We have a really good burning permit system in the state of Tennessee,” Dale said. “We issue lots and lots of burning permits each year and that gives us a chance to interact with the public to achieve a good level of safety.”
Tennessee issued a total of 339,000 burn permits last year. Dale said the permit system provides landowners with a way to know when and where it’s safe to burn.
“It’s not something that prohibits property owners from burning debris when they want to,” Dale said “But it’s just another tool that we can use to encourage folks to burn safely and advise them when we have approaching weather front that may cause adverse reactions when that front moves through.”
Dale said keeping the public informed about safe burning will help reduce future wildfire statistics.
“Tennessee is becoming more of an urbanized state. We have subdivisions being built in forest land and lots of folks moving here from other parts of the country,” Dale said. “The complexity of our landscape is changing and so our goal is to continue educating people on how to burn safely.”
Dale said careless burning causes approximately 45-percent of the wildfires statewide.
Burn permits can be obtained by contacting your local division of forestry. You can visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.