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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions related to the City's Fire Code. For specific questions regarding enforcement or interpretation of these codes, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 865-215-2283.

Open Burning

Open burning, including recreational or ceremonial fires, charcoal/gas grills and portable outdoor fireplaces, are allowed within the City limits under the following guidelines:

1. The fire is located a minimum of 25 feet from the nearest structure or other combustible substances, including vegetation. Exception: portable outdoor fireplaces are allowed within 15 feet.
2. Flames are not to exceed 24 inches in height and 36 inches in diameter.
3. The fire must be surrounded with block or brick, unless in an approved container.
4. No rubbish or refuse (household waste) is to be burned.
5. There must be a source of extinguishment at the site, such as a charged water hose or proper fire extinguisher.
6. The fire shall be constantly attended until it is extinguished.
7. If the fire constitutes a hazardous condition, the Authority Having Jurisdiction shall be authorized to require the fire to be immediately discontinued.

Charcoal / Gas Grills

The following guidelines are for multifamily dwellings provided they are not on combustible decks, porches or balconies.

1. No rubbish or refuse (household waste) is to be burned.
2. The grill is located a minimum of 10 feet from the nearest structure.
3. There must be a source of extinguishment at the site (a charged water hose or proper fire extinguisher).
4. A competent person shall constantly attend the grill until it is extinguished.


1. The City of Knoxville explicitly prohibits the possession, transportation, storage, manufacture, sale, handling, and discharge of display fireworks without a permit from the Fire Marshal. Click here for a pyrotechnic permit application.
2. Use of fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 and/or six months in jail. Only those people with a Tennessee State Fireworks License are allowed "controlled" fireworks displays. Click here for a Tennessee State Fireworks License.

Burning of refuse

1. It is unlawful for any person to start or maintain, or cause to be started or maintained, any open ground fire or any fire in an open can, barrel or other open container for the purpose of burning or consuming refuse or garbage... except as provided in the fire prevention code of the city and as permitted under local and state air pollution control regulations.
2. Burning of refuse or garbage is not permitted on any street within the City, or on public or private property within the City limits, except as permitted by the fire prevention code and by the local and state air pollution control regulations.
3. Contact the Knox County Air Quality Management for a burn permit at www.knoxcounty.org/airquality or call 865-215-5900.

Household Hazardous Waste

City of Knoxville and Knox County residents may dispose of household hazardous waste by taking it to the City's Solid Waste Facility located at 1033 Elm Street. For more information, visit http://www.cityofknoxville.org/solidwaste/hazwaste.asp or call 865-215-6710.

Brush Collection Schedule

The Public Service Department crews collect brush and other household yard waste every other week on pre-set, fixed schedules. Contact the City's Public Service Department for more information at http://www.cityofknoxville.org/solidwaste/brush.asp or call 865-215-4311.

Safety Questions

Click here for links to safety related tips including carbon monoxide, flammable substances, residential sprinklers, home fire hazards and much more.

Disposing of Used Fire Extinguishers

You can take used fire extinguishers to any local fire extinguisher company (check the yellow pages or internet). The company can disassemble them and reuse the parts.
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