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Safe Debris Burn Permit

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.
  • 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.

Burning permits focus attention on the safe use of fire. From October 15 through May 15, anyone starting an open-air fire within 500 feet of a forest, grassland, or woodland must by law secure a burning permit from the Division of Forestry. Permits are not required for burning in containers such as a metal barrel with a ½" mesh screen cover. Anyone needing to burn within an incorporated city should contact city authorities about any local burning ordinances. Many towns and cities have their own burning regulations that supersede the Division of Forestry’s burning permit program.

Permits from the Division of Forestry are free of charge and may be obtained by calling the Division of Forestry phone number for the county where the burning will be done or by filling out the online application (choose option below).

Permits will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn.

Please note: Restricting burn permit issuance is not a burn ban. Burn bans can only be proclaimed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the state forester and county mayors on a county basis, or by the Governor, generally on a regional or statewide basis. Such bans carry more significant punishments when violated than burning without a permit. Such bans also prohibit other forms of open-air burning such as cooking fires and campfires. 

For information on what materials may NOT be burned in Tennessee, please visit Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Open Burning Guidelines by clicking here.  To report illegal burning, please call toll-free 1-888-891-TDEC

Burning Permits by Phone

This option is available for all types of debris buring activity and in all counties where a burning permit is required.

Burning permits may be obtained by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (local time), except on holidays. Permits may be obtained in advance for weekends and holidays.

Burning Permits Online

This option is only available for burning of individual leaf or brush piles approximately 8 feet by 8 feet or smaller in size.

Burning permits may be obtained online seven days a week beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern/ 8:00 a.m. Central.