Burning permits required as Tennessee heads into wildfire season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee forestry officials say outdoor burning permits will be required as the state heads into wildfire season.

“It’s important, and required by law from October 15, 2017 to May 15, 2018, that citizens call for a burning permit and follow outdoor burning safety recommendations,” State Forester Jere Jeter said.

In a news release, the Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry said burn permits are issued free of charge when conditions are conducive to safe burning.

“The permit system helps us communicate to the public when and where it is safe to burn and focuses attention on safety.”

If you are burning a leaf or brush pile smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet, you can go online to Burn Safe TN to get approval.

For anything larger, the state said you will have to call your local Division of Forestry for a permit.

Burning without a permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Drought conditions and hurricane-force winds last November contributed to a wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that killed 14 people and caused up to $2 billion damage.

Jeter said while the same conditions are not present this year, the state isn’t going to let its guard down.

“We need all Tennesseans to volunteer to prevent wildfire.”

For a list of what not to burn, click here.

To report illegal burning, call 1-888-891-TDEC.