The Tennessee State Parks system has lifted a temporary ban on backcountry campfires in state parks, which was put into place June 29, due to dry weather conditions and the potential for wildfire hazards. Today’s announcement is consistent with the Department of Agriculture’s recent action to lift some of the county burn bans throughout the state. For an up-to-date list of the Department of Agriculture’s current county-by-county fire bans, please visit www.burnsafetn.org/.
“Burn bans serve as an additional measure to ensure the safety of campers and to protect the parks’ forested areas,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “We appreciate the cooperation we received during this temporary ban on backcountry campfires and encourage all campers to continue paying close attention to future dry weather conditions in the forecast and any potential new announcements from local and state officials.”
Tennessee State Parks management team also encourages all state park visitors to immediately report a fire or what could be a potential fire danger to 911. If a Tennessee State Parks’ office or ranger station is nearby, also report to these appropriate locations.
Tennessee State Parks also offer several basic fire safety tips for park visitors:
· Use designated areas - Campfires in Tennessee State Parks must be contained within designated grills or fire grates.
· Be responsible - Never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute. Don't allow children and pets near the campfire and never leave them unsupervised. Be aware that smoking poses a fire danger. Do not throw cigarettes on the ground or dispose in a flammable container.
· Play it safe - Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby. Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire. After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
· Do it right the first time - Learn how to safely start a fire. Never use flammable liquids to ignite or keep your fire burning. This means avoid gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fluid and other dangerous fuels.
· Be aware of your surroundings - Avoid starting a fire underneath low-hanging branches or shrubbery. Fires can often flame higher than you anticipate. Keep your fire away from anything flammable, such as dry grass, tents, paper plates, napkins and camping gear.
· Watch the weather - Be aware that hot embers can re-ignite the fire if strong winds are present.
· No fireworks - Fireworks of any kind are prohibited within the Tennessee State Parks system, except public displays approved by Tennessee State Parks officials in partnership with local government.
· Put it out - Make sure your campfire is completely extinguished before leaving a campsite or before bedtime. Always have on hand things to put out your fire such as water, a shovel and a fire extinguisher.
Tennessee's 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 888 867-2757. For additional information, visit the website at www.tnstateparks.com.