What is open burning?

Open burning is the burning of materials in an outdoor location where the materials burned are not contained in an incinerator, fireplace, grill, fire pit or similar appliance with a chimney or smoke stack. Examples of open burning include farmers conducting agricultural burns on their land or someone burning a pep-rally style bonfire. 

Residents at single-family homes burning a small campfire-sized fire in a contained space in their yard are generally excluded from the open burning restrictions of the adopted fire code. However, on days with very high fire danger, North Metro Fire may recommend that even recreational fires be restricted out of precaution.  Additionally, the local sheriff and local public health department have the authority to issue burn restrictions, or even a fire ban, during periods of high fire danger or poor air quality.  A “RED FLAG WARNING” issued by the National Weather Service automatically triggers a complete fire ban in the affected areas.

bonfireGeneral Open Burning
Homeowners and landowners, regardless of the size of their plot of land, who have cleared brush, trimmed trees and bushes, etc. for the purpose of maintaining their land, sometimes wish to dispose of the yard waste by burning. While this is possible, the fire district always recommends other methods of disposal, such as city or county tree-recycling programs, disposal in the regular trash, etc. Should a homeowner desire to dispose of yard waste in this manner, they must contact the fire district to obtain a burn permit, unless the fire is kept to the recreational fire size or disposed of in an outdoor fireplace.

Bonfires  If you are planning a fire pit that would have a stack of wood greater than 3 feet across and 2 feet high, then you will need a permit from North Metro Fire.  A bonfire must be constructed at least 50 feet from any combustibles.

Agricultural Burning
Agricultural burning is the open burning of vegetation by farmers for the purpose of preparing the soil for crop production, weed control, maintenance of water conveyance structures related to agricultural operations, and other agricultural cultivation purposes. Homeowners with larger plots of land that are maintaining their acreage are not considered agricultural. Agricultural burning requires a permit from North Metro Fire. 

More information about burn permits and how to apply for one

Show All Answers

1. What is open burning?
2. Do I need a permit for open burning if there are no current fire restrictions or bans?