DO NOT CALL 9-1-1 For Smoke


Many areas in Middle Tennessee have been experiencing hazy and smoky conditions for several miles, some even reporting the smell of smoke.

“With a recent change in wind direction, smoke caused by wildfires in the Southeast, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee have reached the Middle Tennessee region,” said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks.

“The State of Tennessee’s Division of Forestry, local fire agencies, and mutual aid resources have been battling as many as 196 wildfires in the state just this weekend,” he continued.

Because of the haze over Murfreesboro, concerned citizens are unknowingly calling 9-1-1 to report the smoke.

“We are urging the public to only call 9-1-1 if they see thick, black smoke, a plume of smoke rising from a particular area, or flames,” said Foulks. “Calls for ‘smoke in the area’ that are associated with the wildfires could potentially hinder an apparatus’ response to an emergency.”

Something else to consider with the current atmospheric conditions is the air quality. “The air outside is not favorable for those persons suffering respiratory issues,” said Foulks. “Please take precaution if you go outside and have a medical condition that may be affected by low air quality.”

Foulks also mentioned that most of the wildfires have been caused by open burning, which is currently banned county-wide until further notice. MFRD Fire Marshal Carl Peas placed a ban on burning several weeks ago, ahead of all the wildfire scares due to lack of significant rainfall in Tennessee.

Commercial burns, burning of brush or other debris, and bonfires are prohibited during this ban. The only acceptable burn is in a commercial fire pit (i.e. chiminea) that can be purchased from places like Lowes and Home Depot. The pit must be up off of the ground and not endangering any dry vegetation. “A competent person must monitor the fire at all times,” said Peas, “and must have some type of extinguishing source nearby such as a garden hose or fire extinguisher.”

Peas also warned against discarding smoking materials, “Tossing a lit cigarette out of your vehicle can be dangerous anytime, but especially when the ground is this dry. Lit cigarettes can quickly lead to grass fires,” Peas said.

“Our ultimate goal is the safety of our community,” said Foulks. “If we equip the public with the right information, we can all work together to make that happen!”


Comments are closed.