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Wildfire

Prevent Wildfires

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.