HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has imposed a temporary ban on open fires in Scott County and 50 other counties in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee.

As a severe drought continues to worsen across the region, Governor Haslam on Monday responded to the growing number of wildfires in Tennessee by issuing the burning ban. The ban applies to campfires and the burning of vegetation, construction debris and household items. It does not apply to grills or similar enclosed devices, although residents are urged to be cautious about how grill ash is disposed of, either by waiting until the ashes have cooled or dousing them with water.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 16, there were 67 active wildfires in Tennessee, encompassing some 23,000 acres, according to the Tennessee Division of Forestry. There were no active wildfires in Scott County.

The U.S. Drought Monitor currently classifies Scott and surrounding counties as being in a severe drought.