o Stay abreast of wildfire danger levels and heed warnings and bans on outdoor burning in your area.
o Remember, from October 15 through May 15, anyone starting an open-air fire in Tennessee within 500 feet of a forest, grassland, or woodland must secure a burning permit from the Division of Forestry.
o Local jurisdictions may have other ordinances and permitting systems in place for open-air burning.
o Avoid burning on windy, dry days. When conditions are windy or dry, it is easy for open burning to spread out of control.
o Closely supervise all outdoor fires. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving.
o Have an adult present at all times when a bonfire, chiminea, fire pit, or outdoor fireplace is burning.
o A grill should be placed well away from buildings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. If using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
o Avoid throwing lit cigarettes out of vehicles. This type of litter can quickly start grass fires that can lead to dangerous traffic situations, such as low visibility and congestion.
o Never park a vehicle over a pile of leaves. The heat from the vehicle's catalytic converter or exhaust system could ignite the leaves below.
o Keep water and hand tools ready in case your fire should attempt to spread.
o In the unfortunate event that a fire does get out of control, call 911 immediately and wait in a safe place for the arrival of the local fire department.
Prepare for Wildfires
o Know your community’s evacuation plans and find several ways to leave the area.
o Drive evacuation routes and find shelter locations.
o Have a plan for pets and livestock.
o If your community has a warning system, sign up for it.
o Include N95 respirator masks in your emergency supplies to filter out particles in the air. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
o Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air.
o Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place.
During a Wildfire
o Evacuate immediately when authorities tell you to do so.
o If trapped by a wildfire, call 911 and give your location, but be aware emergency response could be delayed or impossible.
o Monitor local broadcasts for information and instructions.
o Use an N95 mask to keep harmful particles out of the air you breathe.
o If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.
After a Wildfire
o Follow the instructions of authorities as to when it is safe to return home and whether water is safe to drink.
o Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers.
o Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends.
o Wear a NIOSH certified respirator dust mask and wet debris down to minimize dust particles.
o Document property damage with photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.
o Wildfires change the landscape and can increase the risk of flooding from heavy rains.