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Burn permit required beginning Oct. 15

In observance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9 – 15, 2022 the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry reminds citizens that our state is heading into fall fire season. Dry conditions and trees that shed their leaves heighten fire danger and a debris burn permit is required for leaf and brush piles beginning Oct. 15.

“Careless debris burning is a primary cause of wildland fires every year in Tennessee,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Burning leaf and brush piles can be an effective tool to remove collected debris from your yard but the tool needs to be used safely with cooperative weather and under constant supervision. Practice safe debris burning and remember that state permits are required starting this Saturday in areas where local governments do not have established outdoor burning ordinances.”

Debris Burn Permits for leaf and brush piles are available at no charge via the MyTN mobile appor online at www.BurnSafeTN.org. Apply the same day you plan to burn. Online permits can be obtained daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central Time for any size leaf and brush burn pile. Each pile should be completely extinguished by the permit expiration.

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For larger broadcast burning, such as forestry, agricultural, and land clearing, call the Division of Forestry burn permit phone number at 877-350-BURN (2876) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. This phone line will open Friday, Oct. 14. Callers may experience lengthy wait times when call volume is high.

Permits are issued only when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, check with your municipality for additional restrictions before you burn.

A list of materials that are not allowed to be burned can be found from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/apc-air-pollution-control-home/apc/open-burning.html. Call 1-888-891-TDEC to report illegal burning.

Burning without a permit is a class C misdemeanor and punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Individuals are legally required to stay with their fire until extinguished.

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The following tips should be followed when it is safe to conduct a debris burn:

  • Check with local authorities to make sure there are no local restrictions on burning currently in place, especially in cities and towns that have their own burning permit system.
  • GET A PERMIT. A permit is required from the Tennessee Division of Forestry between October 15 to May 15 where local restrictions do not supersede.
  • Notify your local fire department and neighbors to let them know your plans to burn.
  • Do not burn on windy days.
  • Stay abreast of changing weather conditions.
  • Establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil at least five feet wide around burn piles.
  • Keep fire containment equipment on hand during the fire (e.g. rake, shovel, water).
  • Stay with the fire until it is completely out.

Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.

The Division of Forestry protects and promotes the responsible use of forest resources in Tennessee. Focus areas include assisting landowners with a variety of services, providing quality tree seedlings, supporting forest health programs, collecting forest inventory data, assisting forest industries, and fighting wildland fires. Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.

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