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Burning requires permit


It’s again fire season in Tennessee, and the Division of Forestry is reminding everyone in DeKalb County that if they intend to do any outdoor burning they are required by state law to obtain a burning permit. The free permits are required October 15th through May 15th and can be obtained by telephone or online. A poorly prepared or unattended burning debris pile can, under the conditions common in autumn, escape control and become a destructive wildfire. The Tennessee Division of Forestry asks everyone to be cautious when doing any outdoor burning.


 Before doing any outdoor burning:




•First call the Division of Forestry for a burning permit at 615-597-4015 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday (call on Friday for the weekend) or obtain a permit online at In Smithville call 615-215-3000. If weather conditions permit you will be issued a burning permit. If the permit is obtained by phone they will also advise you of any weather conditions such as predicted wind, low humidity or other factors which might call for extra precaution.




•Establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil around brush piles or other piled debris to be burned. The larger the debris pile, the wider the control line needs to be to ensure that burning materials won’t be blown or roll off the pile into vegetation outside the line.




•Keep water, tools, and plenty of help ready in case your fire should attempt to spread.




•Stay with all outdoor fires until they are completely out.




•Be aware of where your smoke is going. Avoid burning when your smoke will be bothersome to neighbors or when near sensitive locations such as highways.




Remember, you as a homeowner have control over the most basic things that will make your house safer from wildfires and allow the local Fire Dept. and the Division of Forestry to protect your home. This includes:




•Clear away flammable brush and other materials at least 30 feet from your house.




•Don’t pile firewood or other flammable materials near your house or on your porch or deck.




•Keep your yard, roof, and gutters free of leaves, pine needles and other debris.




•Keep leaves, pine needles and other debris off of or away from decks.




Materials for which a permit can be issued include: plant materials that were grown on the property (such as brush, leaves, and grass), and untreated and unpainted lumber. Anything else (such as automobile tires, roofing shingles, household garbage, feed sacks, old house trailers, buildings or anything not grown on the property) cannot be legally burned. Failure to obtain a permit or the burning of illegal materials could result in a citation to court and a fine. For more information on this or any other forestry related matter, call the Division of Forestry at the above phone number or visit the Division of Forestry’s wildfire safety web-site at And remember, ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES!!