Check local restrictions in your area prior to conducting any burning activity.
For information on what materials may NOT be burned in Tennessee, please visit:
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Open Burning Guidelines.
To report illegal burning, please call toll-free 1-888-891-TDEC
Basic Fire Safety Guidelines for Outdoor Burning
Careless debris burning is a primary cause of wildfires every year in Tennessee. Wildfires result in enormous losses of natural resources, personal property and even lives.
Fire can be an effective tool when used properly. Even so, the best intentions can produce disastrous results when safety precautions are not taken.
Consider Alternatives to Burning
Some types of debris - such as leaves, grass and stubble - may be of more value if they are not burned. Composting can yield valuable organic matter that can be used to enrich the soil while helping extend the useful life of landfills. In addition, tree branches, trunks, and brush can sometimes be chipped up and simply blown back into the woods or collected and hauled away. Other times, potential hazardous fuel near a structure can simply be drug back into the open woods where it poses no threat to structures.
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 supercede.
- 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.