By DALE GRAHAM
Cheatham County Mayor David McCullough and County Fire Chief Edwin Hogan requested and received a Declaration of Ban on Open Air Burning last week. The declaration provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture went into effect on June 28th, and remains in effect until the ban is rescinded.
The ban says specifically that in the case of “extreme fire hazard conditions” a ban may be issued “prohibiting all open air burning in any area of the state”.
Although rain fell on Monday afternoon in a few areas, it wasn’t much and most areas received nothing. As of press time this week, nothing had occurred weather-wise that would improve conditions in the county.
The problem is that the ban does not include fireworks, and it was impossible for McCullough or anyone else to do anything about that quickly enough to ban them for this July 4th.
He explained that the Burn Ban doesn’t include fireworks, and the county mayor does not have the authority to declare a fireworks ban at this time. The County Commission would have to pass a County Powers Act giving the County Mayor, or someone else the authority to make such decisions in the case of an emergency. That takes time, as does any other solution to the problem, so for this holiday residents had to rely on their neighbors using, “good common sense”, not very reassuring.
For those who will use fireworks regardless of the dry conditions, remember this: the user is fully responsible for any fires created by their fireworks.
McCullough explained that the current Burn Ban does not mean you can’t grill burgers in a closed grill. You can, in a closed grill, not on an open fire. You should probably keep a source of water on hand just in case a loose ember hits the dry ground.
As far as fireworks go, from the phone calls and emails the S. C. Advocate has received this week, your neighbors would prefer that you just don’t do it! The last word Wednesday afternoon was that Pegram’s Fireworks were off, but Nashville’s were on so hopefully everyone enjoyed their holiday either way.
Also, if you smoke, please put your cigarettes out in an ashtray. Several fires have already been ignited along roadsides due to careless smoking.
This paper will be in your mailbox after July 4th has come and gone, but the summer heat continues. Please be responsible with all combustibles.