State Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson has issued burn bans for 29 counties. They include: Carroll, Cheatham, Crockett, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Henderson, Humphreys, Lake, Lawrence, Lewis, Loudon, Marion, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Morgan, Overton, Rutherford, Sevier, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Tipton, Weakley, Williamson and Wilson Counties. These burn bans are in effect immediately and until lifted by order of the commissioner.
In addition to these bans many local communities have imposed their own local burn bans these include the cities of Jackson, Memphis, and Nashville to only name a few. Be sure to check within your local community to see if a ban is in effect.
The bans apply to all open-air burning including leaf and woody debris and construction burning, campfires, outdoor grills and other fire activity outside of municipalities where local ordinances apply.
Fireworks are not prohibited by the Commissioner of Agriculture Burn Ban. However, starting a fire by way of a firework can be considered reckless burning under Tennessee state law 39-14-304 which carries the same penalty as a violation of the burn ban.
A violation of a Commissioner of Agriculture imposed burn ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.
Under state law, the commissioner of agriculture, in consultation with the state forester, has the authority to issue burn bans at the request of county mayors under certain weather conditions. The request by county mayors is completed following mutual agreement with the TN Division of Forestry's District Forester whose district includes that county.
"We're working with local government officials in cooperation with our field personnel to take action when requested and where appropriate to reduce the risk to citizens, property and emergency workers who are on the frontline of responding to wildland fires," Johnson said. "With the extremely dry conditions and little prospect for rain anytime soon, we want to encourage the public to use good judgment and to avoid all situations that can cause fire, even in areas not covered under a burn ban."
For More Information and Updated Burn Bans go to Burn Safe Tennessee