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Backyard Burning

Under Vermont Air Pollution Regulations, the open burning of natural wood and yard waste from property maintenance, property clearing, and so forth is allowed without a permit from the Air Quality and Climate Division. Open burning of trash is never allowed in Vermont, however, there are still reports of illegal burning across the state. The burning of garbage, tires, rubber, plastic, waste oil, asphalt materials, burn pile, including car and construction materialsasbestos, pressure-treated wood, and plywood are all prohibited.

We encourage towns to post open burning information at town offices and on Front Porch Forum, especially in the spring and fall when property-clearing activities tend to increase. Additionally, towns can enact a local ordinance and designate an enforcement officer. A model ordinance, poster, pamphlet, and additional information are provided below, and a ticket book can be requested from the Vermont Judicial Bureau at (802) 295-8869. Furthermore, the highest ranking fire department official on hand has the authority to extinguish an illegal burn per 20 V.S.A. §2673, and per 24 V.S.A. §2201, local police can respond to illegal burning complaints. Generally, fire wardens are concerned with forest fire prevention, and are not responsible for environmental rules. 

Flyers, Posters, and Fact Sheets:

Powerpoint Presentations:

Statutes and Rules:

If local officials are unable to respond to an open burn incident involving the burning of prohibited items, you can submit a complaint to the DEC Environmental Compliance Division here or call (802) 828-1254. Major illegal burning cases (large piles of refuse, whole structures, etc.) or repeat offenses can also be referred to the Environmental Compliance Division. 

burning pile of trash

Documenting Incidents:

  • Complainant name, address, and phone #.
  • Alleged violator's name, location, and phone #.
  • Who started the fire? When?
  • Was a permit obtained from the Fire Warden?
  • How many people/households affected?
  • Sensitive populations? Schools, day cares, elderly, etc.
  • Type of materials being burned (photos are good).
  • Estimate size of burn pile
  • Frequency of open burning?

For general questions about open burning please contact Dave Shepard at (802) 272-4088 or