Rutherford County TN


Open Burning

Official Burning Season Requires a Permit

Between October 15 - May 15, every year state law requires citizens to obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry before conducting any open burning of wood debris. Permits are free of charge. You must call 1-877-350-2876 to obtain a permit. Days outside of the official burning season do not require a permit. For details and online requests for a permit visit BurnSafetyTN

What can you burn?

You may burn only what nature has given you! Leaves, branches, trees, stumps, grass clippings etc. However, it is illegal to burn any of these materials that were not grown on-site. Transporting, dumping, and burning on another site is subject to steep fines.

State law allows for a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day for each day of violation of the Air Quality Act regardless of the size of the burn.

Illegal Burning Materials

  • Tires and any rubber products

  • Vinyl siding and shingles

  • Asphalt shingles and other asphalt roofing materials and demolition debris

  • Building material, construction debris and mobile homes

  • Plywood, oriented strand board and treated wood, including railroad ties

  • Asbestos-containing materials

  • Aerosol cans and food cans

  • Copper wire and electrical wires

  • Plastics and other synthetic materials

  • Paper products, cardboard and newspaper

  • Any household trash

Other Regulations

  • At least 1 person shall be constantly present at the burn site the entire length of the burn.

  • Each burn shall not exceed 48 hours in duration.

  • Burning shall not occur more than twice in any 30 day period.

  • Citizens living within the limits of a city or town are encouraged to check with their government for any local burning restrictions that might apply.

  • Recycling and composting are alternatives to open burning recommended by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

  • Household garbage that cannot be recycled should be disposed in a permitted landfill.

County Convenience Centers and private garbage haulers are options for property owners to appropriately dispose of household trash.