DEEP: Open Burning - Residential

Open Burning on a Residential Piece of Property
Information on Restrictions, Conditions and Permitting
Residential Open Burning Complaints
Smoke, nuisance odors, or other complaints regarding open burning on a residential piece of property are best directed to your local Fire Marshal and/or Open Burning Official. Please visit your town's website to obtain the appropriate contact information. 
Issues or concerns relating to the health effects created or experienced during open burning should be directed to your local Open Burning Official as well as your local Health Department.
In the case of an emergency please call 911 or your local Fire Department.
Information On Other Wood Burning Devices
Your city or town may have a municipal ordinance restricting or banning open burning within its boundaries. Please check with your city or town to find out what restrictions may apply.
Residential property is property that is used exclusively for residential purposes, consisting of one to four dwelling units. Prior to burning, the resident, or individual seeking to burn on the residential property where he or she resides, must have a valid, signed permit from his or her local Open Burning Official. The permit does not relieve the permittee of any legal liability, which may be incurred as a result of the fire. Burning on property not zoned or classified as residential is prohibited.
Open burning is limited to the burning of brush only , which is defined as shrubs, vegetation or prunings, the diameter of which is not greater than three inches at the widest point. Leaves and grass are not considered brush. Open burning is not allowed for the purpose of clearing land, or for the disposal of construction debris, household trash, or leaves. Please visit DEEP’s Construction & Demolition Waste or the Composting & Organics Recycling web pages for more information.
  1. The burning must not take place when national or state ambient air quality standards may be exceeded.
  2. The burning must not take place where a hazardous health condition might be created or where there is an advisory from the DEEP Commissioner of any air pollution episode.
  3. The burning must not take place when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is predicted to be 75 or higher in any town listed in the table entitled “Predicted Daily AQI Maximums".
  4. The burning must not take place when the Forest Fire Danger Level is identified by DEEP as high, very high, or extreme.
  5. The burning must not take place where prohibited by an ordinance of the municipality.
  6. The burning must cease if so directed by any member of the town Fire Marshal's office, Officer of the Fire Department, designated Municipal Official responsible for enforcing the open burning laws and ordinances, or any official of the Health Department or DEEP.
Additional applicable conditions include but are not limited to:
  • Before the burn:
    • All reasonable safety precautions are to be taken including but not limited: to the clearing of grass and trees from the burning area, and wetting down of the surrounding area, and placement of fire extinguishers and hose lines.
  • During the burn:
    • All reasonable measures to assure complete combustion and reduce excessive smoke are to be taken.
    • At no time during the burn should the fire be left unattended.
    • The permit must be available on site during the burn.
    • Burning may not create a nuisance to nearby properties.
    • Burning may only be conducted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a sunny or partly sunny day with the wind speed between 5 and 15 miles per hour. 
  • Completion of the burn period:
    • the burn pile must be completely extinguished by 5 p.m.
    • all embers and coals must be extinguished and wetted, so as to prevent smoldering and fugitive ash emissions.
Failure to adhere to the conditions of the permit may result in penalties and/or enforcement actions.
There may be additional requirements or special conditions applied to your open burning permit by your local Open Burning Official.
Content Last Updated on January 9, 2014