Every year more than 300,000 burn permits are issued in Tennessee and only when the conditions are safe. 

Nathan Waters with the Forestry Department says the state issues burn permits as a way to people safe during wildfire season. 

“People who are doing burning can do so under safe conditions,” said Waters. “We monitor the weather and have a daily fire danger level that we do based on conditions. We work with the National Weather Service and weather stations of our own and that way we can tell somebody in a county if it’s going to be unsafe to burn.”

Waters said burn permits are not the only safety measure people need to take while burning.

“Get your stuff all piled up,” said Waters. “You’re going to go around that and dig a little line into the mineral soil so your fire can’t escape. Position your fire so it’s not up against the mountains and its not up against the woods and it’s far enough away from your house that it’s not going to put embers or anything into your fire bed or melt any vinyl siding or anything like that.”

Waters said people should make sure you have everything you need before burning.

“If you’ve got a pretty good size pile of brush that you’re going to burn you might want to see about getting some help,” said Waters. “Make sure you’ve got tools. A rake, a shovel, whatever you’ve got. If you’ve got running water and a hose definitely take that over there and definitely wet that area before you burn.”

If the burn gets out of control call 911 immediately. Burning without a permit is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and or a fine. 

To apply for a free permit contact your local division of forestry department or go online to burnsafetn.org.

If you live in Knox county rules are a little different. Burn permits are required all year round  and you’ll need to apply through Air Quality Management. Their number is 865-215-5900.