With spring at hand, Tennesseans begin to take advantage of the mild weather to do some yard work around the home or farm.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry wants to remind citizens that if they are considering doing outdoor burning, a burn permit is required.

“Burning vegetative material that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient way to get rid of such debris,” said State Forester Steven Scott. “However, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of debris burning is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where, and how it is safe to burn.”

The free burn permits are required in all areas of the state by law until May 15, unless otherwise covered by local ordinances. Residents should check with their city government for any local restrictions. The permits can be obtained by calling your local Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are generally good for 24 hours and can be issued for weekend burning. Phone numbers for each office can be found in the state government section of your local phone book, or by visiting www.BurnSafeTN.org and clicking on the ‘Burn Permits’ button. The website is also a good source of information for safe debris burning practices and fire prevention tips including how to protect your home in the event of a wildfire.