Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Issues a Regional Burning Ban

November 23, 2016 - Hamilton County, TN - On Monday, November 14, 2016 Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued a proclamation declaring a regional ban on burning in 51 counties in response to the ongoing drought and destructive wildfires throughout Middle and East Tennessee.  The ban is in effect until December 15, 2016.

In addition, Marshall, Robertson, Sumner and Wilson Counties are under a burn ban issued by TDA Commissioner Jai Templeton. A governor’s ban includes municipalities, whereas a commissioner’s ban is superseded by municipal ordinances.

Both burn bans apply to open-air burning and include a prohibition of campfires, and burning of brush, vegetation, and construction debris. 

Generally, the burn ban does NOT apply to cooking grills and other similar lighted devices that are well established in a confined, protected area away from woodlands. However the disposal of hot grill ashes or coals can be a fire hazard. Grill ashes should be completely cool or better yet, wet, before disposal in all cases.

A violation of a burn ban is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months, 29 days in jail. 

Residents in counties not included under any of the current bans must obtain a safe debris burning permit to burn brush or vegetation. The TDA Division of Forestry, however, does not expect to issue any permits until the state receives substantial precipitation. A violation of burning without a permit is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor which carries a fine of $50 and/or up to 30 days in jail. 

PDF - Tennessee Burn Bans