From Oct. 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 Tennessee Division of Forestry. Permits are not required for burning in containers such as a metal barrel with a half-inch 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.
Bartlett’s Fire Marshall noted that no outdoor burning is allowed within city limits except for fires in small fire pits for individual use or for bonfires (which require special permits).
The Forestry Division’s reminder about conducting safe and legal burns in Tennessee comes while the nation watches and waits to hear the fate of California residents whose home are in the path of wildfires sweeping Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties. As of Sunday night, CNN.com was reporting on the efforts of more than 11,000 firefighters still at work in the state. Forty or more people have died and more than 200 are missing as the blazes continue. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimated Sunday that 217,000 acres had already burned, destroying 5,700 structures.
BurnSafeTN.org has this advice on burning:
- Check with local authorities to make sure there are no local restrictions on burning currently in place, especially in cities and towns that have their own burning permit system.
Notify your local fire department and neighbors to let them know your plans to burn.
Do not burn on windy days.
Stay abreast of changing weather conditions.
Establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil at least five feet wide around burn piles.
Keep fire containment equipment on hand during the fire (e.g. rake, shovel, water).
Stay with the fire until it is completely out.