Open and Recreational Burning
Open burning is defined as a fire where any material is burned on the ground or in an open receptacle other than a furnace, incinerator, or other equipment connected to a stack or chimney. It also includes campfires.
Some recreational burning is allowed under strict conditions. However, most open burning without a permit is prohibited in Montgomery County, and fines of $500 per day may be imposed for open burning.
Chapter 3 of the Montgomery County Code and Maryland regulations (COMAR 26.11.07) place restrictions on open burning.
The following items may not be burned in the County at any time:
Why Are There Prohibitions on Open Burning?
The air pollution created by open burning can directly affect the health and well-being of people who live or work near the burn sites by aggravating respiratory conditions, irritating eyes and lungs, obscuring visibility, and creating annoying odors. Smoke is dangerous for people with respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia because it can aggravate the symptoms of these diseases.
Air pollution from open burning can also cause property damage to nearby residential and commercial property. Open burning contributes to regional air quality problems by releasing fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and air toxics.
Disposal Alternatives for Material That Can't Be Burned
Report an Open Burning Violation
To report outdoor air quality violations, use the County's online form or by calling 311.
You may also fill out a Community Complaint Report to notify the Fire Marshal's office of a fire code violation.
What Can You Burn With a Permit?
Under specific circumstances and with the appropriate permit, some open burning is allowed, including the burning of agricultural debris, large bonfires for special ceremonial activities and official fire department training.
For a permit, contact the Department of Environmental Protection by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 311. Provide your name, daytime telephone number, fax number, and email address and the purpose of the open burn. You might be subject to a site visit from a County Enforcement staff member.
Planning a recreational fire?
If you are planning a small recreational fire, no permit is required, but you must follow the guidelines within the What Can You Burn Without a Permit? section.
The Following Open Burns Require a Permit:
Location of Permitted Burns:
What Can You Burn Without a Permit?
Open burning without a permit is allowed for the following fires, provided that an air pollution nuisance is not created:
What Can You Burn in a Recreational Fire?
Only dry, aged, natural wood may be burned in a recreational fire. Burning household waste, construction debris, lumber, leaves, and materials that produce dense smoke when burned (including tires and roofing materials) is prohibited.
What Conditions Must Be Met for Recreational Fires?