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Check before you burn: TN Division of Forestry restricting county burn permits if conditions are too dry

Autumn means fire dangers have increased due to dry conditions. The Tennessee Division of Forestry is monitoring conditions to decide when to restrict burn permits.
Credit: TN Division of Forestry

TENNESSEE, USA — Autumn has arrived, and drier conditions mean people should be aware of fire dangers and to apply for a burn permit before burning any debris.

The Tennessee Division of Forestry will be restricting burn permits in some counties based on how dry conditions are throughout the season. Restrictions may be added or lifted as conditions improve or worsen.

In the larger metropolitan areas -- Knox, Madison, Shelby and Davidson counties -- debris burning is never allowed and permits are not issued. Other counties may have specific ordinances, such Blount County, which requires people in Alcoa and Maryville to obtain a different burn permit from their cities instead of the forestry division.

The fire scale has five distinctive levels ranging from low to extreme. During a high fire danger classification, unattended brush and campfires have a greater chance of escaping and spreading rapidly, according to the Wildland Fire Assessment System.

People who already have a burn permit can continue to operate within the regulations of the permit because a burn ban has not been proclaimed by the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture. 

In Tennessee, people are required to have a burn permit for open-air burning from October 15 through May 15.