Dry, warm, windy conditions put burn ban in effect
With warm temperatures and little rain comes the chance for grass fires to easily spread in our yards.
Hamilton County is under a burn ban Tuesday with the hope of cutting down on brush and grass fires.
Just this week, windy conditions helped fuel the flames when hundreds of headstones were damaged at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in a weekend grass fire.
READ MORE | Hamilton County's Air Pollution Control Bureau
"We've had a couple instances of brush fires and grass fires here on Signal Mountain," said Chief Eric Mitchell.
Signal Mountain Fire Chief Eric Mitchell said as recent as Sunday, his crews were battling a residential grass fire. But he said given the dry conditions, they've had relatively few brush fire calls.
"Crews are aware that this is the season for brush fire so they're out there kind pre-planning discussing areas of concern for our community," Chief Mitchell said.
Channel 3 Storm Alert Meteorologist David Karnes watched a fire burn through part of his neighbor's yard just this week. He said a mix of above-average temperatures, low humidity and wind makes this a risky time for fires.
"Any fires that are started can spread rapidly to dry brush and dry grass," Karnes said. "The rain is going to help. One problem we're having this year is the lack of rainfall."
With several inches short of our average rainfall this time of year, Chief Mitchell said it's important to practice safe burning. He advised:
- Obtain a burning permit (Required by law if burning from Oct. 15 - May 15)
- Notify neighbors (let them know of a burn at least two days in advance)
- Keep water and equipment handy
- Rake or plow a firebreak around the area you want to burn
- Watch the weather (morning and late afternoon work best when winds are calm and humidity is higher)
- Control and stay with the fire
"These brush fires and grass fires burn very hot. And sometimes they're very dangerous because they're unpredictable," Chief Mitchell said.