Open Burning

Learn Before You Burn

Alert Tennesseans know burning trash outdoors is:

  • Harmful to the air we breathe
  • Unhealthy for our neighbors - near and far
  • Unsafe
  • Often Unnecessary

What Not to Burn in Tennessee

  • Tires and other rubber products
  • Vinyl siding and vinyl shingles
  • Plastics and other synthetic materials
  • Paper products, cardboard and newspaper
  • Asphalt shingles, and other asphalt roofing materials and demolition debris
  • Asbestos-containing materials
  • Paints, household and agricultural chemicals
  • Aerosol cans and food cans
  • Building material and construction debris
  • Buildings and mobile homes
  • Coated wire
  • Household trash
  • Most vegetation not grown on site

It may be okay to burn leaves, branches, tree limbs, twigs, lawn clippings, woody vegetation, yard trimmings, clean unpainted, uncoated wood or untreated lumber. Check your local and/or other state ordinances. Improper out-door burning can lead to fines up to $25,000.

While Tennessee Air Pollution Control Regulations (TAPCR) 1200-03-04 include an exception for the open burning of wood waste solely for disposition, such burning may be subject to the requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-201-115(c) which specifies that open burning of wood waste within two hundred feet (200′) of an occupied building by any person other than an occupant of the building shall only be conducted as follows:

(A) At least one (1) person shall be constantly present at the burning during the entire time of the burn;

(B) Each burn shall not exceed forty-eight (48) hours in duration;

(C) Burning shall not occur more than twice in any thirty-day period;  and

(D) If the burning occurs within one hundred feet (100′) of an occupied building, it may only occur if an adult occupant of the building gives written authorization for the burn to occur and has not rescinded the authorization in writing.

This is the Law in Tennessee.

Alert Tennesseans know there are other options instead of outdoor burning:

  • Recycling
  • Composting

Help reduce air pollution in Tennessee by avoiding outdoor burning.

Call TDEC at 1-888-891-TDEC