Officials in TN, Southwest VA say burn ban does not restrict grilling, urge people to use caution

NORTHEAST, TN/SOUTHWEST, VA (WJHL) – With all of the burn bans in place throughout our region, officials in both Tennessee and in Southwest Virginia are providing some clarification on the use of grills during the ban.

According to Tennessee Department of Agriculture officials, Gov. Bill Haslam’s regional ban on burning in 51 counties applies to open-air burning, including campfires and burning of brush, vegetation and construction debris.

“Generally, the burn ban does not apply to cooking grills and other similar lighted devices that are well established in a confined, protected area away from woodlands,” according to the release.

State officials did say that they wanted everyone to be mindful when disposing of hot grill ashes, which can be a fire hazard. The state recommends that when you’re done grilling to allow the ashes to cool completely or be saturated with water before throwing them out.

For updates on wildfires in Tennessee, visit, and

In Southwest Virginia, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies are also watching out for people who may be violating the burn ban currently in place.

On Wednesday afternoon Washington County, Virginia Sheriff Fred Newman told our News Channel 11 crew that at least four people had been charged with violating the burn ban since Monday.

Elaine Smythe with the sheriff’s office told News Channel 11 Thursday that grilling is still permitted even with the active burn ban.

“I have been advised that grills are permitted unless they are dumping out hot charcoal,” Smythe said. “Gas grills I know are ok.”

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