Fall fire season is here, and if you are planning on burning brush or debris outside, you will need to get a burn permit before setting the fire.
The risk of outdoor fires getting out of control increases in the fall and winter months. From October 15 through May 15, you must get a permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division.
In Knox County, burn permits are required year round because of air pollution laws, but in other East Tennessee counties, permits are not required in the summer months.
You can call your local forestry division to get a permit (phone numbers listed at the end of the article) or you can do it online, which is a new option this year for most counties. Knox County is excluded from this option.
To get a permit, go to this website.
There are some restrictions for online permits. They must be for debris piles of 8ft x 8ft or smaller, and the permit is only for individual brush piles. If you need to burn large brush piles or multiple piles, you must call your local Forestry office for a permit.
Individuals obtaining online permits will go through a series of sign off screens that they must read and click to acknowledge the fire laws and restrictions of the State of Tennessee, and persons who have an online permit are subject to the same laws and legal obligations that those who phone in are.
Anyone burning debris, with or without a permit, is liable for damages and suppression costs if their fire escapes, and you may be cited and fined if you burn illegal materials.
Burning safety tips
- Do not burn adjacent to forest or grassland
- Watch the wind
- Have tools and help on hand to contain the fire
- Dig a line down to mineral soil around the fire
- Notify your neighbors
- Get a permit, check local burn ordinances
- Do not leave your fire until it is completely out (a state law)
Numbers to call for a burn permit/ outdoor burning questions in East TN District Counties
Anderson County (865) 494-9434
Blount County (865) 982-6264
Campbell County (423) 562-7838
Carter County (423) 725-3281
Claiborne County (423) 869-8275
Cocke County (423) 623-1077
Grainger County (865) 767-2161
Greene County (423) 638-7841
Hamblen County (423) 586-2497
Hancock County (423) 733-2923
Hawkins County (423) 345-2147
Jefferson County (865) 475-3467
Johnson County (423) 725-3281
Knox County (865) 215-5900 (Air Pollution Control, covers both permits, required YEAR ROUND in Knox County because of air quality laws)
Loudon County (865) 986-8395
Monroe County (423) 442-7401
Morgan County (423) 346-6655
Roane County (865) 354-1054
Scott County (423) 569-4175
Sevier County (865) 429-7020
Sullivan County (423) 239-5811
Unicoi County (423) 753-4011
Union County (865) 278-3348
Washington County (423) 753-4011
If you have questions/ concerns about air quality/ pollution regulations, contact the state Dept of Environment & Conservation at 1-888-891-TDEC, or www.tdec.net/apc.