Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry is reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires and obtain a debris burn permit for leaf and brush piles as the official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Thursday, Oct. 15.
“With the recent and forecasted rain, we expect favorable conditions for safe debris burning in the short term,” State Forester David Arnold said. “However, we shouldn’t let our guard down. We encourage Tennesseans to remain vigilant, practice safe debris burning, and get a permit to prevent wildfires.”
Debris Burn Permits for leaf and brush piles are available online at no charge. For larger, broadcast burning, such as forestry, agricultural, and land clearing, call the local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Frday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The online system for permits and phone numbers can be found at www.BurnSafeTN.org.
Permits are issued only when conditions are conducive to safe burning. Additional restrictions may be in place inside city limits, so check with the municipality before burning.
A list of materials that may not be burned can be found in the open burning guidelines from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/apc-air-pollution-control-home/apc/open-burning.html.
Burning without a permit, a Class C misdemeanor, is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, and callers may remain anonymous. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning call 1-888-891-TDEC.
Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect the community.
The Division of Forestry protects Tennessee’s forests by fighting wildfires, coordinating all hazard emergency response, providing prescribed fire guidance and contract services, as well as wildland fire training, in addition to promoting the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality, and collecting forest inventory data. For more information visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests.