published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Tennessee state parks ban backcountry campfires

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The recent record-setting heat wave has prompted the Tennessee State Parks system and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to impose a temporary ban on all backcountry campfires.

Campers still will be able to build campfires and use charcoal to cook their meals so long as they use fire rings and designated grill areas in selected campgrounds -- not in backcountry areas. The campfire ban will remain in effect until further notice.

"Until we get regionwide rain, the risk is just too high," said Big South Fork ranger Howard Duncan.

The ban does not cover backpacking stoves used for cooking meals, officials said.

Fireworks also are prohibited within the state parks system unless the fireworks are part of a public show approved by the park and officials.

State parks visitors also are reminded not to start campfires using gasoline or other dangerous fuels. Campground visitors should have on hand a shovel and water to extinguish campfires so that embers are completely dead.

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