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Fire departments remind you to be careful during dry weather

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With the unseasonably dry and warm weather, fire departments across the Mid-South want to remind you of the importance of being extra careful if you plan to do any burning.

Tuesday evening the Shelby County Fire Department told WREG they had extinguished a three- to four-acre grass fire near the Millington airport. Right now it's unclear what sparked it.

Experts at the University of Tennessee said the next crop to be harvested is cotton, so for the most part farmers are OK, but with things so dry, fire officials are sending a warning.

"Now that we haven't had rain for a while and the conditions are drying out, it becomes more dangerous and it's something you need to be mindful of," said Brent Perkins, spokesman with the Shelby County Fire Department.

With nearly bone-dry conditions the Shelby County Fire Department said one false move and you could see flames.

"It could be anything from a lighting strike to hot debris from a car tire or truck wheel. We've seen a lot of people think it's a flicked cigarette, but a broken piece of glass can start a fire. It acts just like a magnifying glass," he said.

Right now there is no burn ban in Shelby County, but officials said anytime you plan to do any surface burning, like trash or leaves, you must have a permit.

"If you burn and damage your neighbors property or your property and you cause an incident, in fact you can be held liable for what happened," said Perkins.

On Tuesday WREG talked to farmers too.

Steven Ortega runs a produce shop in Ripley, Tennessee. He said for the most part produce hasn't been affected, but with a large amount of rainfall earlier in the year and none now, it's been a roller coaster for farmers. However, he has seen a drop in honey production.

"There's hardly any plants to pollinate," he said.

The fire department WREG talked to in Ripley said there is no burn ban, but they do require permits.

They're asking people to be mindful, and if you're unsure if you need a permit or if there's a ban, don't be afraid to ask your local fire department.