The Tennessee Valley Authority has issued a burn ban on its public lands in seven states, particularly in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama. Residents have also been warned so stay indoors by health officials due the dozens of wildfires that continue to burn across the mentioned southern states.
A ban campfires and smoking cigarettes has been issued in order to avoid a new fire.
The US Forest Service, as reported by ABC News, has already tracked around 40 active fires. A total of 80,000 acres have already been burned. The occurrence of so many fires could be attributed to the drought that has been affecting the area, but Tennessee also stated that about 50% of the fire cases are suspected cases of arson.
Seattle Times reported the arrest of two individuals regarding cases of arson that may have started some fires. Matthew Ryan Wallace of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was charged with igniting a wildfire and might be given a $3,000 fine and up to six years of jail time if convicted. A Mr. Charles Edward martin of Madisonville, Tennessee was also arrested for setting a fire on a road.
In 24 hours alone, 11 new fires were recorded, as fire crews were already doing their best to put out 67 active fires that were razing around 16,000 acres in the state of Tennessee. In Chattanooga, around 200 people needed to be hospitalized due to having difficulty in breathing due to the haze produced by the ongoing fires.
According to The Times, officers in Alabama are investigating the possibility of arson if some of the recorded 1000 fires in the region. The incidents are currently under investigation, and no arrests have been made regarding the case. Some attribute carelessness for the fire, an example is when people do not put off their cigarette butts properly, and this carelessness has caused the burning of more than 12,000 acres in the state.
In Georgia, igniting fireworks has also been banned by Governor Nathan Deal in order to avoid a wildfire from starting. Deal has also declared a drought across the state, which would require the public water systems to encourage their citizens to conserve water while the declaration is in effect.
More than 5,000 firefighters from all over the country have been called to help put out the fire that has been razing the southern states. Because of the wildfires, several states, such as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky have already declared states of emergencies.