TENNESSEE (WATE) — The Tennessee Division of Forestry says if you want to burn your debris piles, you’ll have to get a burn permit in areas without local restrictions. This permit requirement began on Oct. 15 and is set to end on May 15.

TDF says you need to check local restrictions in your area before burning. You can contact local authorities to ensure there’s no restriction on burning — this is especially important in cities and towns without their own burning permit system.

When to burn

  • 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.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has listed a number of tips and things to know before you decide to burn.

Want to burn trash outdoors? Well, it’s…

  • Harmful to the air we breathe
  • Unhealthy for our neighbors – near and far
  • Unsafe
  • Often Unnecessary

List of what NOT to burn

  • Tires and other rubber products
  • Vinyl siding and vinyl shingles
  • Plastics and other synthetic materials
  • Paper products, cardboard and newspaper
  • Asphalt shingles, and other asphalt roofing materials and demolition debris
  • Asbestos-containing materials
  • Paints, household and agricultural chemicals
  • Aerosol cans and food cans
  • Building material and construction debris
  • Buildings and mobile homes
  • Coated wire
  • Household trash
  • Most vegetation not grown on site

The state says the burning of leaves, branches, tree limbs, twigs, lawn clippings, woody vegetation, yard trimmings, clean unpainted, uncoated wood or untreated lumber is okay. Just be sure to check local/state ordinances, because improper outdoor burning can lead to fines up to $25,000.

Alternatives to outdoor burning

  • Recycling
  • Composting

Help reduce air pollution in Tennessee by avoiding outdoor burning. You can call TDEC at 1-888-891-TDEC for more.

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