Tennessee’s burn permit season will begin earlier than usual this year.
Tim Phelps is the Public Information Officer for the Tennessee Division of Forestry. He said the state typically requires a burn permit starting October 15.
“Because the conditions have been so hot and dry as we lead up into the fall fire season, we just want to use little bit of extra precaution,” Phelps said. “We’re going to start issuing permits early this year. As of Monday, September 23, we’re going to require folks in the rural communities to get a debris burning permit. This is to burn your pile of leaves or your pile of brush. ”
You can obtain a burn permit by calling the local forestry office or visiting burnsafetn.org. The permits will be required for anyone wanting to set an open air fire within 500 feet of any forest, grassland, or woodland.
Despite the dry conditions, Phelps said the state has not seen an increase in the number of wildfires. He said larger fuels still contain enough moisture from the abundance of rain earlier this year.
“We typically have more fires in late October or early November because the leaves from the hardwood trees fall and create that fine fuel on the forest floor,” Phelps said. “If we continue in this trend, it is going to be a pretty interesting fire season as those conditions mature. As of now, we haven’t seen that much and this is just a precautionary measure to get this in front of people early.”
Phelps said burn permits will only be issued during favorable weather conditions. He said low humidity and high winds usually keep the state from issuing permits.