Burning yard debris could lead to brush fire, safety percausions from experts

Disposing of yard debris, safety tips

BRISTOL – The past month of dry weather is raising concern for the potential of brush fires in our area. That concern increases with the burning of yard debris, if it’s not done safely.

“The ground is getting pretty dry because it’s been so dry for much of this month and later on we’re going to have those really dry days with really low humidity levels, so once the wind picks up later in October, that’s when we really have to be concerned about the fire danger,” says News 5 meteorologist David Boyd.

It doesn’t take much for a brush fire to spread.

“It just takes small embers of fire to grow into something much much bigger, and we saw that back in Gatlinburg last year, where some of those fires were just caused by little embers that were blown in the wind, especially those strong winds that could travel for miles,” Boyd says.

Burning yard debris could be dangerous especially during the dry weather. The Bristol, Tennessee Fire Department explains how to properly dispose of yard debris.

“The city will actually pick up leaves or brush if you get it out to the curb about where you put your trash can. They have a truck that’ll come by and pick it up,” says Battalion Chief Alan Howard.

To burn your yard debris in Bristol, Tennessee, you will need a burning permit, explaining what you can legally burn.

“Mostly what you can burn is natural wood or leaves and it spells out some safety things, you have to call in before you burn so we’ll know,” Howard says.

Howard says to burn in small piles with a clear area around the fire to prevent spreading.

“Have a shovel, a rake standing by, and preferably a garden hose, so you can put some water on it, and you cannot burn unless it’s attended, so you cannot start a pile of leaves and then go to the store, you have to stay with it,” Howard says.

If the fire gets out of hand, here’s what to do.

“So obviously call 911 first, and then if you can safely apply some water to the fire or take a rake or a shovel and start moving the burning debris back towards the main pile,” Howard says.

While the safety tips remain the same no matter where you live, it’s important to check with your area’s fire department for information on proper disposing procedure.

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