TENNESSEE (October 15) – Area citizens are urged to exercise extreme caution when burning outside to prevent wildfires, especially during dry conditions.
According to state and local officials, the following tips should be followed when it is safe to conduct a debris burn:
Get A Permit. A permit is required from the Tennessee Division of Forestry between October 15, 2020, to May 15, 2021, where local restrictions do not supercede. Debris Burn Permits for leaf and brush piles are available online at no charge. For larger, broadcast burning, such as forestry, agricultural, and land clearing, call the local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The online system for permits and phone numbers can be found at www.BurnSafeTN.org.
Permits are issued only when conditions are conducive to safe burning.
* Check with local authorities to make sure there are no additional restrictions on burning currently in place, especially in cities and towns that have their own burning permit system.
* Notify the 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.
A list of materials that may not be burned is found in the open-burning guidelines from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/apc-air-pollution-control-home/apc/open-burning.html.
Burning without a permit, a Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a Class C felony punishable by three 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 is answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous. Cash rewards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, call 1-888-891-TDEC.
Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.