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.
Burn permits are required from the Tennessee Division of Forestry beginning October 15, 2021 for debris piles in areas without local restrictions.
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
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.