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Open Burning

The Knox County Department of Air Quality Management (Air Quality) has established open burning regulations designed to prevent open burning from being a nuisance to neighbors. This rule prohibits certain types of outdoor burning and sets conditions for permissible fires. Violators of the open burning regulations may be fined up to $25,000 per day per violation.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding open burning.

“Open burning” is defined as a fire where any material is burned on the ground or in an open container that is not connected to a stack or chimney. Campfires are considered open burning.

  • Open burning of solid waste, including yard waste, within Knoxville City limits (City Ordinance Section 13-8)
  • Open burning at construction sites, except for warming fires as outlined in What type of open burning is allowed without a permit?
  • The use of any air curtain destructor or air curtain incinerator
  • Open burning of the following materials is strictly prohibited in Knox County:
Home and Farm Materials
  • Animal Bedding
  • Stumps
  • Hay
  • Muck piles
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Agricultural plastic
Construction Materials
  • Asbestos materials
  • Construction debris
  • Renovation debris
  • Carpet
  • Shingles
  • Drywall
  • Insulation
Household Garbage
  • Food waste
  • Plastics
  • Synthetics
  • Paper products
  • Cans
  • Glass
  • Cardboard
Wood Materials
  • Fence posts
  • Sawdust
  • Railroad ties
  • Pallets
  • Wood chips/mulch
  • Wood shavings
  • Painted, stained, or pressure-treated wood
  • All wood building materials
Miscellaneous Materials
  • Chemical containers
  • Rubber
  • Tires
  • Coated wire
  • Furniture
  • Used oil
  • Waste from industries or businesses
  • Cooking fires
  • Recreational or Ceremonial fires (e.g., campfires, bonfires, etc.)
  • Construction site warming fires
    • Fire must be in a suitable metal container.
    • Only untreated wood may be burned.
    • Outdoor temperature must be 45°F or below.

Air Quality issues open burning permits for land management purposes, fire training, and special cases (see below for open burning permit eligibility requirements and associated restrictions). During adverse weather conditions and on “air pollution action days” all issued open burning permits are invalid and no open burning is allowed. Before burning each day call the phone number on your permit to find out if an open burning ban is in place.

Land Management Open Burning Permit

Open burning for land management purposes on an established private residence, farming operation, or established church congregational property (on-site only) is subject to the following requirements:

  • An open burning permit shall be obtained before burning and must be on-site during open burning.
  • Only brush wood that is grown on the property and less than three (3) inches in diameter may be burned.
  • The burn piles may not exceed 144ft3 (e.g., one level pickup truck load).
  • Open burning can only take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (all flames extinguished by 4 p.m.).
  • Permits are valid for one (1) year.

Fire Training Open Burning Permit

Open burning for fire training purposes is subject to the following requirements:

  • Application must be filed at least ten (10) days prior to the proposed burn date.
  • The following certification must be made with the application:
    • Certification that all regulated asbestos containing materials have been removed in accordance with Knox County Department of Air Quality Management Regulations (KCAQMR) Section 35.2.1-M.
    • Certification that all vinyl siding, carpet, vinyl flooring, asphalt roofing materials, and any other materials expressly prohibited in KCAQMR Section 16.6 have been removed.
    • Certification that the open burning is being conducted solely for fire training purposes.
    • Certification that a traffic hazard will not be generated.
  • Routine demolition of structures via supervised burning by responsible fire control personnel will not be considered fire training. Therefore, such activity deemed not for fire training purposes is prohibited.

Alternative Open Burning Permits

Open burning of materials where the Division Director of Air Quality Management determines there is no other practical, safe and/or lawful method of disposal (e.g., prescribed burns, farm land maintenance, etc.) is subject to the following requirements:

  • An alternative open burning permit shall be obtained by filling out the following application form and submitting it to Air Quality. The application must contain an explanation of why there is no other practical, safe and/or lawful method of disposal for the materials.
  • An Air Quality team member will conduct an onsite inspection of the proposed materials to be burned prior to permit issuance.
  • The issued alternative open burning permit must be kept on-site during open burning.
  • You must comply with all conditions listed on the permit.

UNACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

  • Do not burn within 50 feet of any structure.
  • Do not burn near landfills.
  • Do not burn near streams or sinkholes.
  • Do not burn near utility lines.
  • Do not burn on windy days.
  • Do not burn without fire extinguishing equipment present.
  • Do not leave fire unattended.

Knox County Recycling and Household Waste Drop-off Centers (Convenience Centers)

Call 865-215-5865 or visit the Knox County Solid Waste Department Convivence Centers General Information website by clicking here for more information.

  • Karns Center (6930 Karns Crossing Lane)
  • Powell Center (7311 Morton View Lane)
  • Halls Center (3608 Neal Drive)
  • Gibbs Center (7201 Tazewell Pike)
  • Carter Center (8815 Asheville Highway)
  • John Sevier Center (1950 W. John Sevier Highway)
  • Dutchtown Center (10618 Dutchtown Road)

City of Knoxville Recycling Drop-off Centers

Call 311 or 865-215-4311 or visit the City of Knoxville Recycling Drop-Off Centers website by clicking here for more information.

  • North (4440 Western Avenue)
  • South (225 W. Moody Avenue)
  • East (210 Alice Street)
  • West (341 Parkvillage Road)

City of Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Center and Transfer Station

Call 865-215-6700 or visit the City of Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Facility website by clicking here for more information.

  • 1033 Elm Street (Off W. Baxter Avenue at I-275)

Living Earth Green Waste Drop-off Centers

Call 865-927-7646 or visit the Living Earth website by clicking here for more information.

  • West (8707 Joe Daniels Road)
  • Central (2601 Middlebrook Pike)
  • East (6323 Rutledge Pike)

Please call 865-215-5900 or email airquality@knoxcounty.org if you have any questions or to report illegal open burning.

Click here for an informational brochure on open burning in Knox County.

Click here for the Knox County Department of Air Quality Management Regulations on open burning.

Air Quality

Main Office
140 Dameron Ave,
Knoxville, TN 37917


865-215-5900 phone
865-215-5902 fax

Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email

Report Illegal Open Burning