The official beginning of "forest fire season" in Tennessee is Oct. 15.
Burning permits are required in most of the state between Oct. 15 and May 15.
Activities requiring a burning permit include unconfined outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste, and burning to clear land.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and the state Fire Marshal's Office are observing "National Fire Prevention Week" this week by reminding homeowners to follow simple safety practices to prevent forest fires.
"Despite the recent wet weather experienced in many parts of the state, fires are still a real threat," said state forester Steve Scott.
"It is still important that citizens call for a burning permit and follow outdoor burning safety recommendations."
OBTAINING BURN PERMITS
Burning permits are free of charge and may be obtained in advance for weekends and holidays.
Residents may apply for burning permits by calling their local Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The number for the Greeneville office is 638-7841.
Visit http://www.BurnSafeTN.org for a directory of state Forestry Division offices by county, and for fire safety tips.
Last year 16 homes across the state were lost and more than 500 were threatened due to wildland fire.
The Division of Forestry advises, "Homeowners living in forested communities can take steps to protect themselves and their property.
"Keeping gutters and rooftops free of debris, maintaining at least 2 to 5 feet of non-flammable material next to the foundation of the home, and clearing away flammable brush at least 30 feet from the house are just a few simple examples of what homeowners can do...
"Escaped debris burns are the leading cause of wildfires. Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50.
"Wildfires caused by arson are a Class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
"Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal's Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017."