Wildfire Season Begins Next Week

October 11, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is observing National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13) by reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Oct. 15.

“With the recent and forecasted rain, we expect favorable conditions for safe debris burning over the next couple of months,” State Forester David Arnold said. “However, we shouldn’t let our guard down. We encourage Tennesseans to remain vigilant and practice safe debris burning to prevent wildfires.”

Obtaining a burn permit is free, fast, and simple. If you are burning a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, our online system provides a quick and efficient way to apply. For a larger burn, call your local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The online system and burn permit phone numbers can be found at www.BurnSafeTN.org.

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.

More than 300,000 permits are issued each year, and they are only issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with your municipality before you burn.

For a list of materials that may not be burned, check the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s open burning guidelines 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 punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by 3 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 you may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, please call 1-888-891-TDEC.

Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.

The Division of Forestry promotes the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, 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 primary and secondary forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy. Visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.