Smoke Concerns Washington County Residents

Thursday, April 13th 2017, 5:41 pm
By: News On 6

The smoke that's filled the sky in Washington County has some people worried, but emergency managers said there's no need to be.

Emergency managers say most of the smoke is coming from controlled burns where someone is watching the fire as it burns.  They say with so many people waiting until this time of the year, that greener grass is making the smoke more intense.

Smoke it in the air, and people in Washington County can see it and smell it.

"One day when it was burning we actually left town because we couldn't breathe," said Nikole Franklin, Washington County resident.

Earlier this year high winds and burn bans impacted every community. Now that it's died down, ranchers are taking time to clear their land with controlled burns.

"We notice it every year, but this year seems to be worse," Franklin said.

Nikole Franklin says typically, the smoke hovers over the area. So she and her children are take advantage of the clear air while they can.

"Sunsets are sometimes more pink because of the smoke," she said.

Washington County Emergency Manager Kary Cox said crews are keeping close watch.
"Especially in the evenings ,a lot of that smoke has settled over the city and so we've got some calls from folks worrying that there are some grass fires close to town," said Kary Cox, Washington County Emergency Manager.

Cox says there's no need to be concerned right now, but with controlled burns there are requirements in place land owners are supposed to meet:

  • Notify the fire department before you start burning (so they'll be aware in case it spreads)
  • Notify your neighbors (so they'll know it's an intentional fire)
  • And if you're burning, never take your eyes off the fire

"I'm  not really worried about them; it's just harder to breathe when it's going on," said Washington County resident Nikole Franklin.

Emergency managers say if you ever see a fire burning and no one watching it - report it. 

Get a full look at the burning laws here.