Burn Permits required starting September 23rd for controlled burns
Starting Monday, Tennessee's State Forester is requiring a burn permit for all outdoor fires.
With the hot and very dry weather this summer, the Chattanooga Fire Department is urging folks to think twice before burning anything at all.
"The last month it's been very dry," said Battalion Chief Chris Warren.
Brown grass and dried up leaves are a common sight across the state.
"We've seen an uptick in brush fires and mulch fires, a lot of times it's discarded smoking material," Warren told Channel 3.
The Tennessee Valley has been behind in rainfall since July. Chattanooga is now in a moderate drought.
"It's the hottest part of the year and air pollution is a much bigger concern," said Warren.
With the leaves not far out from falling, people are beginning to think how to get rid of them when that time comes.
"The best thing is not to burn it at all," urged Warren.
Chattanooga Fire says there's a safer alternative-- one that doesn't create a cloud of smoke.
"All the communities here usually have leaf pickup, you can get online and find what that schedule is," Warren added.
But, if burning is your thing-- the Chattanooga Fire Department says you need a permit from the county.
"From our standpoint if there's a permit on file then we don't get called to something we don't have to go to unnecessarily," Warren told Channel 3.
He says too many times resources are wasted responding to controlled burns by people who forgot to get a permit.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau reminds everyone that all of the regular laws still apply, which means:
No burning is allowed from May 1 - September 30 each year. Recreational fires are allowed at this time, but are limited to 2 feet high and 3 feet in diameter and only allow the burning of clean, untreated wood or charcoal.
Burn season begins October 1 and runs through April 30.
During these dates, anyone wanting to burn brush for disposal purposes must obtain a permit from the Air Pollution Control Bureau prior to burning.
Permits range from $10 - $60, depending on where in the county you will be burning.
"If it's not on record, they don't know about it, then they are going to dispatch our apparatus to something that is a controlled burn. Our trucks are out on something else when they could be helping somebody that really needed it," said Warren.
Permits from the division of forestry are free of charge.
You can apply for the permit online at: https://agriculture.tn.gov/OnlineBurnPermitPublic/default.aspx
You can also apply over the phone-- for a list of county numbers visit: http://www.burnsafetn.org/phonepermit.html