Due to conditions of severe drought, Knox County Air Quality Management (AQM) is issuing a mandatory ban on open burning in Knox County effective immediately. Those holding 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. Under normal conditions, an open burn permit provides an individual with the right to burn certain materials while adhering to particular guidelines, which take potential environmental and health effects into account. The public may call 865-215-5900 or email health@knoxcounty.org with questions.


A division of the Knox County Health Department, AQM works to maintain the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which are designed to protect public health. In addition to issuing residential burn permits, the division monitors fine particulate matter and ozone in the outdoor air; permits air contaminant sources, such as manufacturers and gas stations; performs compliance and complaint investigations; and provides technical and educational services.