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Seasonal Burning
NO BURNING--commercial or residential-- is allowed in Hamilton County from May 1-September 30. This ozone season burning ban  was implemented to help Hamilton County continue to achieve federal air quality standards.  Burning restrictions are proven methods of controlling air quality and they encourage residents and companies to seek out alternatives to burning, like chipping, composting and recycling. To learn more contact the Bureau at (423) 643-5970 or via email.

Burning is allowed in Hamilton County between October 1 and April 30 with the appropriate permits. The burning status is determined by the predicted daily air quality. You can also find out the day's burning status by calling the Information Line at (423) 643-5971.  For more information click here.

Burning permits cannot be issued until the permit application has been reviewed by Bureau personnel and an on-site inspection is made by the Fire Marshall, where appropriate, and Air Pollution Control personnel at the convenience of such inspectors.  If a permit is issued, the applicant must sign and abide to the conditions listed on the permit.  Non-compliance with any of the conditions is a violation of the law, and is punishable by a penalty of up to $25,000 per day.

What's Prohibited?

The burning of garbage, treated lumber, paper and cardboard is NOT legal at any time. During the seasonal burning ban, no burning in barrels is allowed.

Is There A Fee?

Residents of Chattanooga are subject to a nonrefundable $50 inspection fee. Residents of Hamilton County are subject to a nonrefundable $5 inspection fee. 


Burning is the number one complaint received by the Bureau.  Many times, the person calling is experiencing breathing problems because a neighbor is burning. To issue a complaint call (423) 643-5970.  We have someone on call 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.  Please do not contact us online regarding burning complaints, as we may not receive the message in time to respond. 

Alternatives to Burning 

The APCB encourages Hamilton County citizens to find alternatives to burning.  Burning leaves, brush and other vegetation produces smoke. Smoke contains a number of hazardous air pollutants, which increase levels of ozone and fine particle pollution. These pollutants cause health effects ranging from allergies to cancer. 

PLAN AHEAD - Plan to clear and burn between October 1 and April 30.

PILE - Pile debris until the restrictions are lifted on October 1. Call 423-643-5970 beginning September 1 to apply for a permit.

PICKUP - Set brush and leaves at the curb for pick-up offered by these municipalities:

  • Chattanooga - Call 311 for pick-up 
  • Collegedale
  • East Ridge
  • Lookout Mountain
  • Red Bank
  • Signal Mountain

DROP OFF - Drop off at the City Landfill on Birchwood Pike. Call 311 for information on prices or click on this link

RECYCLE - Recycle by chipping or grinding and reusing the chips as landfill or mulch, or drop off brush at the Wood Recycling Center. Mulch and compost  are free for city residents. There is a small fee for non-city residents. 

Brush Collection Sites

Wood Recycling Center - Dial 311 for information or (423) 425-6311
3925 N. Hawthorne Street

Turn off Amnicola Highway at the Police Services Center. Turn left on to N. Hawthorne and go to the end of the road.

Hours of Operation: 
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
        Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. except for the 2nd Saturday of each month.

City Landfill - 423-326-1566
9327 Birchwood Pike
Harrison, TN

Take Hwy 58 north approximately 4 miles north of Harrison Bay. Turn left on Birchwood Pike. (Landmark is a store called "58" Mart. ) The landfill is one mile on the left.

Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00p.m.

Obtaining a Burning Permit

Burning will only be allowed if the following conditions are met and the Bureau Director has issued a Seasonal Burning Permit:  

  1. The material must not be accessible for pickup service by the City of Chattanooga. 
  2. There must be no other reasonable method of disposal.
  3. For City Permits (Chattanooga, Collegedale, East Ridge, Red Bank and Ridgeside) an application must be submitted to the Director accompanied by a fifty dollar ($50.00) inspection fee. For all other areas of the county, a five dollar ($5.00) fee is required. Fees are collected to pay for the inspection and processing, and are non-refundable even if the permit cannot be issued.  We accept cash, checks, or money orders.
  4. The burning must not present a health hazard or nuisance to others. 
  5. Burning hours vary - dates and times are listed on the back of the permit. 
  6. Only untreated wood and vegetation may be burned.   

Please allow 4 to 5 business days for your inspection after which a status on your application will be available.

If you agree to burn under these conditions, you may download an application  beginning in September for a burning permit. To complete the application, PRINT IT, FILL IT OUT and MAIL IT to:  

CHCAPCB - Burning Permits
6125 Preservation Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37416

Our Bureau Investigator, John Schultz, will answer questions concerning burning.  You may reach him at (423) 643-5988.