October 11, 2021
By: Dwayne Page
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry reminds citizens that the state is heading into fire season. A debris burn permit is required for leaf and brush piles from Oct. 15 until May 15 each season.
“Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Thanks to rainfall, our wildfire numbers are low so far this fall. However, it’s always necessary to practice safe debris burning and remember that state permits are required starting next week in areas where local governments do not have established outdoor burning ordinances.”
In DeKalb County to obtain a burn permit call (615) 597-4015 if you live west of the Caney Fork River or (931) 839-2328 if you are east of the Caney Fork River. In the City of Smithville call 615-215-3000.
Debris Burn Permits for leaf and brush piles are available at no charge via the MyTN mobile app or online at www.BurnSafeTN.org. Online permits can be obtained daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central Time for any size leaf and brush burn pile. Each pile should be completely out by the permit expiration. For larger, broadcast burning, such as forestry, agricultural, and land clearing, call the Division of Forestry burn permit phone number at 877-350-BURN (2876) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. If you have limited access to internet, this number can also be used for a debris burn permit, but callers can expect lengthy wait times when call volume is high.
Permits are issued only when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, check with your municipality for additional restrictions before you burn.
A list of materials that are not allowed to be burned can be found from the 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 is a class C misdemeanor and 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. Call 1-888-891-TDEC to report illegal burning.
Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your 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 responsible 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. The Division also works to promote forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy. Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.