- Associated Press - Thursday, October 12, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee forestry officials say outdoor burning permits will be required as the state heads into wildfire season.

The Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry says in a news release that the wildfire season runs from Sunday until May 15. Burn permits are issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. Permits are issued free of charge.

Drought conditions and hurricane-force winds last November contributed to a wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that killed 14 people and caused up to $2 billion damage.

Burning without a permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

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