If you have any brush left over that you want to burn, and you have a permit in Hamilton County, you better do it soon. 

The seasonal burn ban starts next week. From May 1-September 30, you're not allowed to burn yard debris or natural vegetation.

The seasonal burn ban helps the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau achieve its key mission.

"It's our job to make sure we keep those air pollution levels within a healthy range for the citizens of Hamilton County," public relations coordinator Amber Boles said.

Too much burning can lead to unhealthy air.

"Burning combustible materials creates NOx," Boles explained. "Then that reacts with sunlight to create ozone."

This is why burning isn't allowed all year and requires a permit when it is allowed. Even then, you can only burn certain things.

Particles from burned materials can be trapped in the lower atmosphere, especially during the warmest months of the year when the sun's energy is the strongest. This can lead to poor air quality.

"When you have sunlight for longer hours during the summer, there's a greater chance of creating ozone. Plus, it's hotter," Boles said.

You can see it in the form of haze on hot days, and it makes it hard for many people to breathe.

"It can create issues for those with respiratory issues, especially those with asthma, COPD, bronchitis and things like that," Boles added.

This is why it's important to obey the ban. If you see someone illegally burning, Boles wants you to report it as soon as possible. The bureau has an inspector who will go to the scene.

"He's out monitoring the area during the day, and you can call our office either during the day or after hours. He's on call 24/7," Boles said.

The number to call is (423) 643-3971.

So far during this burn season, which started last October, the bureau has received 85 complaints about illegal and alleged illegal burning. According to records, the complaints resulted in 76 warnings but no fines. Boles says the fine can be up to $25,000 per violation per day. If the illegal burning is in or near a wooded area or in a park, you could be cited or arrested by forest rangers.

During the burn ban you can build camp fires for recreation, but not bonfires for burning vegetation or debris.

Visit Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau website to learn more about seasonal burning rules and what you cannot burn.