Much needed rain helps put out TN wildfires - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Much needed rain helps put out TN wildfires

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The Tennessee Valley has been showered with steady rain, which has helped put out wildfires. 

According to Area Forester, Shannon Gann with the TN Forestry Division, said the wildfires are 100% contained, which they're considering completely out. In addition to the rain, she said the cooler weather also helped fight the wildfires. 

"The cold weather does help. It does keep the fires down so it keeps them from moving as quickly because the heat we talked about before; the fire triangle and heat is one of the things in the fire triangle so if it's not as hot you don't have as much heat going on." 

As the rain showers began, the 29 day rain-free streak came to an end, but it's going to take much more to completely end the drought. 

"We're gonna have to make up for that drought that we had and so it could stop raining at anytime and then we'll be right back into our drought so it just depends on what the weather conditions do," said Gann. 

As of Nov. 29, 99.08% of Tennessee remains under severe drought conditions, 60.43% is under extreme drought conditions, and 13.60% is under exceptional drought conditions, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System

Uncertainty is causing many officials to take precaution, including Governor Bill Haslam, who extended the burn ban in East Tennessee; 51 counties until Dec. 15. 

According to BurnSafeTN.com,  Sumner and Wilson Counties are under a burn ban issued by TDA Commissioner Jai Templeton. A governor's ban includes municipalities, whereas a commissioner's ban is superseded by municipal ordinances.

Both burn bans apply to open-air burning and include a prohibition of campfires, and burning of brush, vegetation, and construction debris. 

"We just want to kind of keep all the open burning stopped because a lot of our fires were started with campfires and that sort of thing and that keeps that down. I know we've gotten a lot of rain and I know a lot of people are like well can we go burn, but this is just to keep everything safe and just to make sure everything is good and out," said Gann. 

Generally, the burn ban does NOT apply to cooking grills and other similar lighted devices that are well established in a confined, protected area away from woodlands. However the disposal of hot grill ashes or coals can be a fire hazard. Grill ashes should be completely cool or better yet, wet, before disposal in all cases.

A violation of a burn ban is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months, 29 days in jail. 

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