NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Burn bans are in place in many cities and counties across Middle Tennessee, and now the state is requiring burn permits earlier than usual.
Rutherford County Fire Rescue posted on its Twitter saying, “Rutherford County has had three times the average number of unauthorized burns this month. So far, September has had 34 controlled burns or brush fires, with over half being unauthorized due to the burn ban.”
Fire crews responded to an illegal burn started on Friday on Patterson Road. It took two ours for them to put it out.
Rutherford County and Murfreesboro are just some of the areas in Tennessee that have issued burn bans for open burning.
“Right now, the conditions are very dry,” Murfreesboro Fire Marshal Carl Peas said. "The burn ban that we have issued is primarily for construction type burns, field clearing, things like that."
The dry leaves on the ground can be extra fuel for the fires.
"Dry grass with dried leaves is just more fuel,” Peas said.
The dry conditions have also prompted some counties to go a step further and apply for a state issued Commissioner of Agriculture burn ban.
"Bans restrict a whole lot of other things such as camp fires, charcoal grills,” said Tim Phelps, Public Information Officer for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry.
The state is now requiring burn permits earlier than usual. Now through May 15 people will be required to apply for a permit for open air burning. Burn permits are normally required beginning Oct. 15.
“It’s our way of communicating when, where and how it’s safe to conduct a debris burn,” Phelps said.
Not getting a permit or violating a ban could result in a fine or jail time.
To apply for a permit or for numbers to call for more information visit BurnSafeTN.org.