MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. — USDA Forest Service officials say conditions are abnormally dry in the Cherokee National Forest. Extended periods of hot weather and little to no rain has increased the risk of wildfires throughout the National Forest.
Wildfires are not only a threat to wildlife and the natural resources, but also to life and property.
Fire officials say people can be fooled by what appears to be low fire hazard conditions. Conditions, especially wind, can change quickly and caution should be exercised at all times when using a campfire, grille, smoking or anything that can be a source of ignition in wooded areas.
Many people enjoy the great outdoors with a roaring fire and a night sky full of stars. But a campfire is a big responsibility. It is important to learn how to be safe with your campfire.
If you are at a developed recreation site only use the metal fire rings and grilles that are provided.
If you are outside of a developed site (dispersed use):
Clear a 10-foot-diameter area to bare soil.
Dig a pit in the soil to about a foot deep.
Circle fire pit with rocks.
Build campfire away from overhanging branches, logs/stumps, steep slopes, dry grass and leaves/pine needles.
Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.
NEVER leave a campfire unattended.
When putting out a campfire, drown the fire, stir it and drown it again until it is dead out!
Always have an adult around to supervise use of the campfire and while cooking.
Be careful with gas lanterns, barbeques, gas stoves and anything that can be a source of ignition for a wildfire.
Cherokee National Forest Fire Management Officer Trent Girard said,” If you see something, say something! If you see smoke or any suspicious activities, please call 911. Don’t assume someone else has already notified local emergency responders. Sometimes even small bits of information can be useful in an investigation. Help us protect your national forest from wildfires.”
Remember, Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!