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Open 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.  


Recreational Burning Guides:


The following items may not be burned in the County at any time:

  • Household trash 

  • Tires

  • Construction debris

  • Asphalt shingles and tar paper

  • Leaves, lawn thatch, and garden trimmings

  • Green brush and other fresh or dried plant life (except certain agricultural materials)


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.



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