Feds issue burn bans for Cherokee, Chattahoochee and Oconee national forests amid high fire danger

The U.S. Forest Service has implemented special fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions, high fire danger and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. The move comes days after similar restrictions were issued in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Georgia, and the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina.

Very high wildfire danger continues across much of the Tennessee Valley and Georgia because of the hot, dry weather combined with dead and dry vegetation. Fall leaves have started to drop, which can burn in a fire or cause an area that has already seen fire to be re-burned.

Starting on Oct. 29, 2016, all 655,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest are off-limits to campfires. Specifically, “building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal fire outside of developed recreation areas” is prohibited. However, “the use of portable lanterns, stoves or heating equipment that utilize gas or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed,” according to a news release.

Fires at developed recreation areas are still allowed for now, but must be confined to “receptacles designed for fire,” such as metal fire rings and grills.

Campfires should always be put out and cold to the touch before left for any period of time.

 

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