Open Burning

Open Burning & Its Effects on Our Environment

The department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) investigates all complaints of open burning. Not all instances of open burning constitute a violation.

However, when a violation is found, the DEQ takes action to cause the open burning to cease. There are many reasons, both environmental and health related, why you should avoid open burning.

What is open burning?

By definition, open burning occurs when you burn anything outside. Depending on the circumstances, open burning may or may not be a violation.

Examples of when open burning is a violation:
  • Burning your household trash when you DO have trash collection service available
  • Burning tires/rubber, plastic or other materials that produce toxins
  • Any open burning by a business or municipality
Examples of when open burning is not a violation:
  • Campfires
  • Bonfires (such as at pep rallies, burning of the greens. Etc.)
  • Burning your household trash on your property when you DON’T have trash collection service available.
How does open burning affect public health?
Open burning produces smoke, which is made up of fine particles. When inhaled, fine particles can accumulate in the respiratory system causing various respiratory problems including persistent coughs, wheezing and physical discomfort.

Additionally, breathing these fine particles can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections and can aggravate existing respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. Even short-term exposure to smoke can cause respiratory problems.

How does open burning affect the environment?
In the environment, chemicals contained in smoke, when mixed with rainwater, can speed in the deterioration of man made materials such as concrete, metal products and paint.

How can you get rid of solid waste in a legal and environmentally sound manner?
  • Recycle as much as you can
  • Compost your yard waste
  • Chip your tree limbs and use the chippings as mulch
  • Dispose of the remainder or your solid waste at a DEQ permitted landfill.