Due to conditions of poor air quality and severe drought, Knox County Air Quality Management (AQM) has issued a mandatory ban on open burning in Knox County.


The City bans open burning of brush all of the time, in part because the Public Service Department collects brush and leaves. County residents who hold open burn permits should postpone burning until further notice. New applications for permits will be suspended until the ban is lifted.


“We sincerely appreciate the public’s cooperation during this ban, which will remain in effect as long as conditions are unsafe for burning,” said AQM Director Lynne Liddington. “We will notify the community as soon as we’re able to lift the ban.”


The ban encompasses camp fires, bonfires, and any and all other types of outdoor open burning. Although AQM does not have the authority to ban recreational burning and food cooking, it is urging both city and county residents not to burn anything.


The haze that has covered much of Knoxville yesterday and today is the result of smoke that drifted into town from fires in neighboring counties. According to one AQM official, anyone with respiratory problems should avoid being outside if possible, because ambient air quality standards have been exceeded this week.


Moreover, citizens are urged to avoid unnecessary trips in their vehicles, to combine trips, to carpool and to take the bus.


Questions may be directed to 865-215-5900 or health@knoxcounty.org (mailto:health@knoxcounty.org) .