Rutherford County Fire Marshal's Office

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 About the Fire Marshal 

Fire Marshal Joshua Sanders

The Rutherford County Fire Marshal's Office is led by Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Joshua Sanders.  Chief Sanders is a 20-year veteran of the fire service who started his career with Rutherford County in 2016 and worked his way through the ranks to his current position as the County's first Fire Marshal.  Chief Sanders has served in a wide variety of roles in Public Safety throughout his career including law enforcement, EMS, Telecommunications, and Emergency Management.  He holds a Master's degree from Columbia Southern University in Emergency Services Management, certified by the State of Tennessee as a Fire Officer IV, holds national/international and state certifications as a Fire & Explosion Investigator (NAFI-CFEI, IAAI-CFI, State of Tennessee, and Proboard), is a State of Tennessee & ICC Certified Fire Inspector, and is a Tennessee Licensed Paramedic.

Chief Sanders is a member of the Tennessee Fire Chief's Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Arson Investigators, National Association of Arson Investigators, Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association, International Code Council, International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, serves as an adjunct instructor for the Tennessee Fire & Codes Enforcement Academy's Fire Investigator course, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Arson and the Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association.

Email: [email protected]   Office: 615-907-3600 Ext: 1

About the Fire Marshal's Office

The Rutherford County Fire Marshal's Office is responsible for performing fire code inspections, codes enforcements, permit issuance, plan review, public outreach/education, and fire/arson/explosion investigation within unincorporated Rutherford County.


Arson/Explosion Investigation Unit

Code Enforcement Section

Public Education & Outreach


Required fire permits in Rutherford County by category :



  • Commercial Open Burning
  • Explosives- Storage/Manufacture
  • Fire Watch
  • Storage of Flammable & Combustible Liquids (includes above-ground tanks)
  • Hazardous Materials Storage
  • High Piled Storage
  • Liquid- or Gas-fueled Vehicles or Equipment in Assemble Buildings
  • Use/Storage/Dispensing of LP-Gas
  • Mobile Food Preparation Vehicles (Food Trucks)
  • Mobile Fuel-Dispensing Facilities
  • Outdoor Assembly Events (over 1000 attendees)
  • Private Fire Hydrants
  • Temporary Membrane Structures and Tents
  • Vehicle Repair Garages

Visit the Rutherford County online permit portal HERE

Open Burning Requirements/Regulations

Official Burning Season Requires a Permit
Between October 15 and 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

Quick Links

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.

  • 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.

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