Safe Debris Burning. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is reminding residents who want to burn yard debris to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires.
Tennessee urges citizens to practice safe debris burning.
National Fire Prevention Week, the first full week in October, (October 7-13, 2018) by reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is October 15 of each year.
Required by law
“It’s important, and required by law from October 15 to May 15, that citizens call for a burning permit and follow outdoor burning safety recommendations,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “Tennessee experienced a historic fall fire season last year due to exceptional drought conditions. Fortunately, that underlying condition does not exist this year, but we’re not going to let our guard down. The permit system helps us communicate to the public when and where it is safe to burn and focuses attention on safety. We need all Tennesseans to volunteer to prevent wildfire.”
Free Burn Permits
Free burn permits, required by law until May 15, unless otherwise covered by local ordinances. Residents should check with their city and county government for any local requirements or restrictions. The online burn permit system is free, fast and simple. If you are burning a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, log on to www.BurnSafeTN.org for approval. More than 300,000 permits issued each year, and the online system provides a quick and efficient way to apply.
Larger Burn Permits
For a larger burn, apply for a free permit by calling your local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Phone number listings found by visiting www.BurnSafeTN.org.
“The division’s burn permit system focuses attention on safety, and it’s important for citizens to know when, where and how to conduct a debris burn.”
Not to mention, burn permits are only issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with your municipality before you burn.
One year, more than 387,000 permits issued for outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste, and burning to clear land. The volume of requests on any given day can be high, so the Division asks residents to exercise patience if they experience delay in reaching a permit writer. The online system is most effective obtaining a permit for a small debris burn.
Debris burners should practice common sense
- First Obtain your burn permit.
- Establish a control line around the fire, down to bare soil before conducting the burn.
- Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance as a courtesy.
- Have tools on hand such as a leaf rake and garden hose or bucket of water to help control fire that escapes.
- Watch for changing weather conditions as winds can blow the fire in the wrong direction.
- Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. It is illegal to leave an open fire unattended.
Class C Misdemeanor
Plus, burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The hotline, answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards, offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, please call 1-888-891-TDEC.
Visit www.burnsafetn.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.
The Division of Forestry promotes the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality and collecting forest inventory data.
Wise use of forest resources
The Division also works to promote primary and secondary forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy and promotes the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality and collecting forest inventory data.
Obtaining a Safe Debris Burning Permit by Phone
Burning permits by phone are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays. Permits, obtained in advance for weekends and holidays. Plus, no permits issued on days and in locations considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn.
These are the list of local to where I live in Jefferson County, TN.
- Cocke (423) 623-1077
- Grainger (865) 767-2161
- Greene (423) 638-7841
- Hamblen (423) 586-2497
- Jefferson (865) 475-3467
- Knox (865) 215-5900 Air Poll. Cont.
- Sevier (865) 429-7020
To learn what materials may not be burned, check the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Open Burning Guidelines at tn.gov/environment/article/apc-open-burningwww.tn.gov/environment/article/open-burning.
Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/section/forests for more information.
Press Release compliments of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. First published October 15, 2015. Last republished or updated October 8, 2018.