No Burning Allowed
From May 1 through September 30, no burning--commercial or residential--is allowed in Hamilton County.
Burning restrictions are proven methods of controlling air quality and they encourage residents and companies to seek out alternatives to burning, like chipping, composting and recycling. Burning includes fires used for the disposal of trees, brush or other natural vegetation from on-site land clearing projects. The use of burn barrels is also prohibited during the seasonal ban.
Burn bans do not just mean clean air--they mean jobs
Restriction of burning is one of the main control measures implemented in 2004 as part of the Chattanooga Area Early Action Compact (EAC). Restricting burning seasonally decreases summertime pollution by at least four tons per day. These measures continue to help Hamilton County achieve federal health standards for air quality, and keep jobs coming to our area. We hope you will help us keep the air clean by composting, chipping or recycling your leaves and brush.
Other air quality control measures include:
- Vehicle Emissions Inspection
- Stage 1 Vapor Recovery (for trucks hauling gasoline)
- Pollution Solution (program that alerts citizens to Air Quality Alert Days)
What is so bad about burning?
Burning leaves, brush and other vegetation produces smoke. Smoke contains a number of hazardous air pollutants, which increase levels of ozone and fine particle pollution. These pollutants cause health effects ranging from allergies to cancer.
Recreational fires are okay
Only recreational fires are allowed in Hamilton County during the seasonal ban.
Recreational fires are:
- a cooking fire or campfire, using charcoal or clean, untreated firewood
- no larger than 3' x 2'
- occurs in designated areas or on private property for cooking, pleasure, or ceremonial purposes
Ceremonial fires in the city of Chattanooga must have a permit from the Chattanooga Fire Department. Call (423) 697-1450 one week in advance. Please give advance notification to your local fire department if you do not reside in the city.
The burning of garbage, trash, treated lumber, paper and cardboard is not legal at any time.
What happens if I burn during the ban?
Anyone who burns during the ban could be assessed a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day.
Alternatives to burning
Hamilton County offers several alternatives to burning, including brush pickup in municipalities, chipping, piling, and recycling.
There are many advantages to choosing an alternative disposal method to burning:
- Improved air quality
- Habitat creation
- Erosion control
- Natural landfill
The Bureau recommends residents:
- Pickup - Set brush and leaves at the curb for pick-up offered by these municipalities:
- Drop Off - Drop off at the City Landfill on Birchwood Pike.
- Recycle - Recycle by chipping or grinding and reusing the chips as landfill or mulch, or drop off brush at the Wood Recycling Center. Mulch and compost are free for city residents and there is a small fee for non-city residents.
Brush Collection Sites
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
3925 North Hawthorne Street
Chattanooga, TN 37406
9327 Birchwood Pike
Harrison, TN 37341
Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Burning is allowed October 1 through April 30. To receive a burn permit application, contact the Air Pollution Control Bureau at 423-643-5970.