Burn bans could affect Fourth of July - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Burn bans could affect Fourth of July

Carelessly discarded cigarettes can easily start a fire in dry conditions. Carelessly discarded cigarettes can easily start a fire in dry conditions.
Covington Firefighter helps put out a grass fire. Covington Firefighter helps put out a grass fire.

(WMC-TV) - New burn bans have been issued daily throughout the Mid-South due to the drought like conditions.

Dozens of counties are under a burn ban in Arkansas, including Lee, Crittenden, and Jackson, DeSoto, and Tate Counties in Mississippi, and Shelby and Tipton Counties in Tennessee.

EMA officials there said they put these burn bans into play in hopes of preventing a major grass or field fires.

"All it takes is that one cigarette out of the window with the wind blowing and set dry vegetation on fire and it's gonna go till somebody stops it," said Tipton County EMA Director Tommy Dunavant.

Tipton County instituted a burn ban late Wednesday afternoon, only after Covington firefighters put out four separate grass fires.

A burn ban essentially means you cannot have an open flame burning at any time.

"We have a relatively low humidity and because of that the vegetation doesn't have any moisture and that increases the fire danger we're experiencing," Dunavant continued.

With the dry conditions, Director Dunavant is concerned about the use of fireworks this Fourth of July.

He is not necessarily discouraging the use of fireworks, but says use extreme caution and be prepared.

"You need to have those garden hoses out and have a plan that you're gonna have a fire," he added.

Director Dunavant, who is also a Covington fire firefighter, said there is also a risk for firefighter injury in this extreme heat.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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