Fire and Rain

A historic drought continues through Tennessee, and conditions have been perfect for wildfires, with over 50 known fires still active. With drought conditions not expected to break, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has declared a level 3 state of emergency. “Approximately 302 of Tennessee’s 480 water systems are experiencing some level of drought impact, ranging from moderate to exceptional. At least three counties have requested water for residents whose wells have run completely dry of water,” said Patrick Sheehan, director of TEMA. “Furthermore, relief from the drought and wildfire threat is not imminent as weather forecasts are not showing any significant precipitation in Tennessee through the remainder of 2016."

With the declaration of emergency, TEMA is able to bring in resources from other states and federal partners. As a result, fire crews from both Florida and Nevada are working with local teams, and FEMA has authorized partial reimbursement for activities related to the fire control effort and associated tasks. "FEMA approved this request to ensure that Tennessee has the resources to combat this fire and protect lives, structures and property,” says Gracia Szcech, FEMA regional administrator. “State responders will continue the hard work to fight the fire with the help of this funding."