Planning to burn? Don't even think about it

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Rash of brush fires prompt fire chief to call for burn ban

By Ben Carlson

Not even campfire.

That’s the word from Anderson County Fire Chief Mike Barnes, who on Monday afternoon enacted a countywide burning ban.

“That means it’s illegal to run anything outside,” Barnes said. “It’s completely banned, and it includes everything.”

Barnes requested the ban following a serious brush fire that ignited Sunday afternoon on Clay Burgin Road and toasted between 4 and 5 acres of property.

Barnes said firefighters battled burning brush for three hours, only to come back to the location that evening after partially buried logs flared up again.

He said it’s likely that the brush fire was started by someone who pitched a cigarette from a vehicle window. By the time he arrived, Barnes said the fire was already jumping from one side of the road to the other.

“I had to drive through flames coming onto the road just to get past it,” Barnes said.

“If that fire had gotten into woods another 15 to 20 feet, we might not have been able to stop it and it could have turned into an all-nighter.”

Barnes said the incredibly dry weather over the past two months is what prompted the burn ban.

“As dry as it is, the leaves are not going through their normal changeover as we go from summer to fall,” he said. “The leaves are dry and provide quick-flash fuel when they hit the ground. If they catch fire, they can get away from you real fast.”

As for the ban on burning, Barnes said that will remain in effect even if the area receives some rain, which isn’t looking very likely in the next week or so.

“Even if we get a little rain, it won’t be enough to thwart the dryness we’re dealing with right now,” he said. “Until we get something else released saying that’s it’s OK to burn, people shouldn’t think it is.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.