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Record-breaking heat and dry conditions force local burn bans

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Record-breaking heat and severe drought conditions forced Metro officials to activate a burn ban in Moore County effective Monday. Until further notice, all open burning and fireworks are prohibited in Lynchburg, according to Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart.

Over the weekend, local temperatures spiked in the 100’s and remain in the nineties for the majority of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

Additionally, according to the TVA rain gauge at Tims Ford Reservoir, Moore County has not received any rainfall in the past 21 days. The last accumulation measure was .88 of an inch on June 11. As of Monday, the U.S. Drought Monitor elevated Moore County to a D2 Serve Drought Stage.

Tinder Box Conditions
The combination is producing dangerously dry conditions across the county and much of the state. Also on Monday, the State issued a burn ban for seven Tennessee counties including Cheatham, Dickson, Gibson, Giles, Marshall, Maury and Sumner.

The local and state bans applies to all open-air burning including leaf and woody debris and construction burning, campfires, outdoor grills and other fire activity outside. In Moore County, it also specifically applies to fireworks as the July 4 holiday approaches.

A violation of a Burn Ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.
The Tennessee State Parks system issued its own temporary ban on backcountry campfires in all state parks on Monday – addressing in specific the potential for wildfire hazards.
Wildfires in the West scorched a 17,800 swath of Colorado last week affecting over 32,000 residents and destroying over 350 homes.

State and local firefighters are seeing an increase in fire activity statewide.

Last Thursday, Rutherford County Fire and Rescue battled a 25-acre brush fire on a farm outside of Smyrna. Local officials warn of “tinder box” conditions where the least spark could ignite a blaze.
Major causes include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, escaped debris burns, discarded cigarettes, lightning, campfires, arson and fireworks. Moore County citizens can help support the Moore County Volunteer Fire Department by checking following local burn ban, immediately reporting those who burn anyway and quickly reporting any wildfire.

For more information, contact the Metro Moore County Sheriff’s Department at 759-7323 or to report a fire dial 9-1-1.

“Hopefully, we’ll get some rain soon,” stated Mayor Stewart.

The NWS is calling for a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Tuesday through Friday of this week with a 30-40 percent chance of precipitation.