KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With 53 wildfires still burning in Tennessee, the Knoxville Fire Department is getting ready to send firefighters of their own to help contain the flames.
“If you look at your grass, foliage that has fallen, the leaves and everything, everything’s dry and when you have a little spark, it doesn’t take long for that dry vegetation to spread,” D.J. Corcoran, KFD Captain, said.
The on-going drought causing major problems for the state of Tennessee, with the lack of rain creating the dry conditions that have caused fires to quickly spread.
The threat of flames prompted fire officials to implement fire bans in at risk areas, like Knox County.
“You want to be responsible,” Corcoran said. “You don’t want to have an open flame, even if you’re a smoker, be careful about the cigarettes that you discard. Make sure they are completely out.”
And with more than 50 wildfires still roaring through the state, local fire crews are in desperate need of reinforcement.
It’s why dozens of fire crews from around the country are traveling to Tennessee to help in the fire fight, with the Knoxville Fire Department gearing up to send a crew of its own by sunrise.
“It’s a different kind of battle than a structural fire,” Corcoran said. “A structural fire will pretty much burn what you see, where as a wildland fire, it can spread. It can go from county to county.”
Those wildfires are affecting air quality throughout the state, with parts of East Tennessee still under an Orange Air Quality Alert.
The poor air quality is taking its tolls on people with respiratory issues. Corcoran said his crews have responded to more breathing-related medical calls in recent days.
“If you have respiratory problems, I would suggest that you stay inside,” he said. “Put you heating and air circulation on to where it pulls from the air that’s already inside your home, that it’s not pulling from air from outside and just try to minimize any exposure.”