Among the dozens of wildfires being fought by crews across the state over the weekend was a new one that started Friday afternoon on Beech Grove Road in Anderson County. Briceville volunteer firefighters were called to the scene at around 4:30 pm Friday. That fire is now 100% contained according to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry wildfire site, www.burnsafetn.org, but it burned 213 acres, according to officials. That fire, along with roughly half of the fires being battled across the state are believed to have been the work of arsonists.
The state’s arson reward fund is now at $2500 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. If you believe you have information that could aid investigators, you can call the state arson hotline at 1-800-762-3017. That number is answered 24 hours a day. You can also report arson activity to the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Crime Unit at 1-844-AGCRIME (1-844-242-7463). Callers to both numbers can remain anonymous.
With dry conditions still in place, officials remind you that Governor Bill Haslam has issued a regional burn ban on 51 Tennessee counties, including all of Anderson County. This ban applies to any open-air burning near woodlands, including campfires and the burning of brush, vegetation or construction debris. Generally, the burn ban does not apply to cooking grills and other similar devices that are well established in a confined, protected area away from woodlands. State officials do remind you that disposing of hot grill ashes can be a fire hazard and recommend either completely allowing them to cool or soaking them with water before disposal.