Open Burning

Under the Air Pollution Control Regulations, the open burning of natural wood from property maintenance, clearing of property, and so forth is allowed without a permit from the Air Quality & Climate Division. The open burning of some materials, including wood waste from demolition activities at a business, industry, farm or a private residence, is also allowed but requires a permit. If a permit is issued, it generally will be for the burning of wood only, and only in locations where the smoke will not cause a potential nuisance or health concern. Open burning of trash using a "burn barrel", "home-made incinerator", or simply in a pile on the ground, is not allowed in Vermont.

large open burn pile

If you wish to apply for a permit to burn construction, demolition or commercial waste, please call the Air Quality & Climate Division at 802-272-4088. You may need to obtain an additional permit from your local fire warden or other local officials. The fire wardens operate under Forest and Parks Rules to prevent wildfires and are not responsible for the enforcement of Environmental Rules. Please check with your local fire warden or other authorities before lighting any fires. Some cities and towns may prohibit open burning altogether. During conditions such as drought, cities and towns may temporarily ban all open burning due to the risk of starting wildfires.

Permissible Open Burning

When not prohibited by local ordinance or fire prevention officials, the following types of burning are permissible, provided no public or private nuisance is created.

bonfire

  1. Natural wood fires for holiday and festive celebrations.
  2. Campfires, outdoor grills, and fireplaces.
  3. Burning for bona fide firefighter instructional purposes. Vermont AQCD and DOH notifications required.
  4. Burning in forest land areas of brush, tree cuttings, and slash from site clearing operations.
  5. Burning for the purpose of weed abatement, forest fire prevention, and land management.
  6. On-premise burning of leaves, brush, deadwood, or tree cuttings from normal property maintenance.
  7. Open burning of natural wood from construction debris. Vermont AQCD permit required.

In any instance of open burning , whether permits are required from the Air Quality and Climate Division or not, the Division encourages the use of air quality forecasting to aid in minimizing potential health impacts associated with burning activities. Recommendations for utilizing air quality forecasts can be accessed below.

Additional information

For more information, please contact Dave Shepard at dave.shepard@vermont.gov or call (802) 272-4088.