Burn Permits

Burning permits focus attention on the safe use of fire. From October 15 through May 15, anyone starting an open-air fire within 500 feet of a forest, grassland, or woodland must by law secure a burning permit from the Division of Forestry. Permits are not required for burning in containers such as a metal barrel with a ½" mesh screen cover. Anyone needing to burn within an incorporated city should contact city authorities about any local burning ordinances. Many towns and cities have their own burning regulations that supersede the Division of Forestry’s burning permit program. Permits from the Division of Forestry are free of charge and may be obtained by calling the Division of Forestry phone number for the county where the burning will be done or by filling out the online application that can be found here.

Permits will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn. For information on what materials may NOT be burned in Tennessee, please visit Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Open Burning Guidelines by clicking here

To report illegal burning, please call toll-free 1-888-891-TDEC

IMPORTANT: Once you obtain your permit from the Division of Forestry, please call the Dispatch non-emergency number 615-898-7929 and provide your permit number and address.

It is illegal to burn:

  • Tires and any rubber products
  • Vinyl siding and shingles
  • Asphalt shingles and other asphalt roofing materials and demolition debris
  • Building material, construction debris and mobile homes
  • Plywood, oriented strand board and pressure treated wood, including railroad ties >
  • Asbestos-containing materials
  • Metals, Aerosol cans, and food cans
  • Copper wire or electrical wires
  • Any Plastics and other synthetic materials
  • Paper products, cardboard, and newspaper
  • Any Household garbage/trash

It is also illegal to burn any materials that are transported from one site to another for the purpose of burning.Transporting any materials natural or man-made, dumping, and burning on another site or receiving materials to burn is subject to steep fines. State law allows for a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day for each day of violation of the Air Quality Act regardless of the size of the burn.

What you Can Burn:

  • You may burn only Leaves, branches, trees, stumps, grass clippings etc.

Other Regulations:

  • At least 1 person shall be constantly present at the burn site the entire length of the burn.
  • Permits are good for 24 hours.
  • If burning occur within 100 feet of an occupied building it may occur ONLY if an adult occupant of that structure give written authorization for the burn to occur and has not rescinded authorization in writing.
  • Citizens living within the limits of a city or town are encouraged to check with their government for any local burning restrictions that might apply.