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Open Air Burning
Open burning in Shelby County is prohibited by Shelby County Code Section 3-16 and Memphis Code Section 16-50. A temporary permit may be issued for controlled open burning of waste trees and brush using an air curtain destructor at land clearing sites. The permit requires specific operating conditions to maintain acceptable air quality and to prevent creating a public nuisance.

View open burning permit rules and regulations - PDFWord Document 

For open burning in Shelby County, the applicant must contact, and obtain a permit from, the Pollution Control Section at (901) 222-8270.

Burning Without a Permit
Open burning may be conducted for the following activities without a permit. However, Fire Department approval is required.
  • Fires for burning bodies of dead animals, including poultry, where no other safe disposal method exists
  • Fires set for training Fire Department personnel 
  • Fires used for cooking, ceremonial, or recreational purposes 
  • Fires used for the control of disease or pests
  • Fires used for the reduction of leaves on the premises on which they fall 
  • Fires used for the removal of wheat stubble 
  • Smokeless and safety flares for the combustion of waste gases  

Vasco A. Smith, Jr. County Administration Building • (901) 222-2300
160 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103
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