EFD now requiring city residents to obtain burn permits

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Residents inside the city limits of Elizabethton will now have to obtain a burn permit in order to conduct an open burn of brush or vegetation.

“We are going to start requiring burn permits in the city,” Elizabethton Fire Department Fire Marshal Andy Hardin said. “This is beginning immediately.”

The burn permit requirement is for open burning, which includes the burning of brush, leaves, sticks, and untreated wood. Residents are prohibited from burning household garbage, furniture, tires, copper wires, shingles, or any non-natural material regardless of whether or not they have obtained a permit.

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Fires that are deemed as “recreational fires” will not require a permit. Hardin said recreational fires are small fires burning sticks, wood, or leaves that is smaller than 3 feet in diameter and reaching no higher than 2 feet. Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material which could spread to a structure.

“Anything that is larger than that is considered a ‘bonfire’ and requires a burn permit,” Hardin said.

Fires contained in an enclosed pit that has no chance of escaping and the pit has some form of spark abatement are classified as recreation fires and do not require a permit, Hardin said.

Hardin said he feels the permit process will not only help the fire department but the community as a whole.

“It’s going to help us know where people are going to be burning, help us make sure they have the regulations, and allows us to deny permits if the conditions are bad,” Hardin said.

The permits are free and can be obtained by calling the Elizabethton Fire Department Station One at 423-542-5421 or visiting the station, which is located at 121 S. Sycamore St.

“They pretty much just call us, and we give them a number and get their address,” Hardin said.

Any open burning that takes place inside the City of Elizabethton has to meet the following guidelines:

• Burning may consist of any dry agricultural product (i.e. leaves, grass, brush or untreated wood). No shingles, tires, copper wires or household garbage may be burnt.

• Open burning must take place a minimum of 50 feet from any structure.

• The open burn must constantly be supervised until the fire is completely out.

• Have adequate means to control and extinguish the fire (i.e. garden hose, extinguisher, or heavy equipment).

• The weather conditions have to be suitable for burning (low wind).

• Must be able to call 911 quickly if unable to control fire.

For a full list of burn regulations, visit the Elizabethton Fire Department’s Website at www.elizabethton/org/departments/fire.