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Tennessee State Parks Temporarily Ban Backcountry Campfires

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 09:54am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Parks system is issuing a temporary ban on backcountry campfires in all state parks due to dry weather conditions that could increase the potential for wildfire hazards.  The backcountry campfire ban is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

In coordination with the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry efforts, this burn ban serves as an additional measure to ensure the safety of campers and to protect the parks’ forested areas. Campers will still be able to build campfires and use charcoal to cook their meals, as long as they are inside an appropriate fire ring or designated grill area in designated campground facilities (not in backcountry areas). 

“Dry weather conditions continue throughout the state and humidity remains very low,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.  “We want to take every precaution necessary to protect people and land.” 

Tennessee State Parks management team encourages all state park visitors to immediately report a fire or what could be a potential fire danger to 911. If a Tennessee State Parks’ office or ranger station is nearby, also report to these appropriate locations. 

Tennessee State Parks also offers several basic fire safety tips for park visitors: 

  • Use designated areas - Campfires in Tennessee State Parks must be contained within designated grills or fire grates.  No backcountry campfires are allowed at this time.  
  • Be responsible - Never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute. Don't allow children and pets near the campfire and never leave them unsupervised.  Be aware that smoking poses a fire danger.  Do not throw cigarettes on the ground or dispose in a flammable container.  
  • Play it safe - Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby. Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire. After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
  • Do it right the first time - Learn how to safely start a fire. Never use flammable liquids to ignite or keep your fire burning. This means avoid gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fluid and other dangerous fuels. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings - Avoid starting a fire underneath low-hanging branches or shrubbery. Fires can often flame higher than you anticipate. Keep your fire away from anything flammable, such as dry grass, tents, paper plates, napkins and camping gear.
  • Watch the weather - Be aware that hot embers can re-ignite the fire if strong winds are present.    
  • No fireworks - Fireworks of any kind are prohibited within the Tennessee State Parks system, except public displays approved by Tennessee State Parks officials in partnership with local government.  
  • Put it out - Make sure your campfire is completely extinguished before leaving a campsite or before bedtime.  Always have on hand things to put out your fire such as water, a shovel and a fire extinguisher. 

Tennessee's 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our website at www.tnstateparks.com. 

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