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Regulations for Residential Open Burning

 

Leaves burning in a back yard.Open burning is a source of air pollution that is regulated by the Division of Air Quality (DAQ). There are statewide rules in place that regulate open burning activities to help minimize emissions and ensure that the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are met. Recent modifications to these rules change the open burn periods and include a statewide requirement to obtain a permit from the local county or municipal fire authority prior to burning.

General Requirements

DAQ rules governing open burning can be found in the Utah Administrative Code (UAC) R307-202. This rule allows open burning of clippings, bushes, plants, and pruning's from trees incident to property and residential clean-up activities, provided that the following conditions have been met:

  • The clearing index is 500 or greater. The clearing index is a measure of the atmospheric mixing and wind speed. A clearing index of 500 or less is considered poor atmospheric ventilation.

  • An open burn permit application must be completed and a valid permit issued by the county or municipal fire authority prior to burning. See instructions and a link to the open burn permit application.

  • Permits may be issued between March 1 and May 30 and between September 15 and November 15 in the counties of Washington, Kane, San Juan, Iron, Garfield, Beaver, Piute, Wayne, Grand, and Emery.

  • Permits may be issued between March 30 and May 30 and between September 15 and October 30 in all other areas of the state.

  • Materials to be burned are thoroughly dry and no trash, rubbish, tires, or oil are included in the material to be burned, used to start fires, or used to keep fires burning.

Permit Criteria

Burning wood.Prior to completing the open burn permit application, please consider the following:

  • Location and proximity of the proposed burning to any building, other structures, neighbors, or other public areas (parks, schools, businesses, hospital, etc.) that might be impacted by the smoke and emissions from the burn.
  • The clearing index must be above 500.
  • Whether there is any practical alternative method for the disposal of the material to be burned.
  • Methods to minimize emissions and smoke impacts such as using clean auxiliary fuel, drying the material prior to ignition, and/or separation for alternative disposal of materials that produce higher levels of emissions and smoke during the combustion process.
  • For burns of piled material, all piles shall be reasonably dry and free of dirt.
  • Open burns shall be supervised by a responsible person who shall notify the local fire department and have available, either on-site or by the local fire department, the means to suppress the burn.

Permit Application

Applicants statewide are required to complete the open burn permit application prior to igniting an open burn. After the application process is completed, a copy of the application is sent electronically to the county or municipal fire authority having jurisdiction in the area where the open burning will take place.

Though the application process is the same statewide, some county and municipal fire authorities require additional steps to be taken prior to issuing a valid open burn permit. Applicants should contact their local fire authority once the open burn permit application is complete to ensure all local open burning requirements are met.

The open burn permit application program is tied to two items:

  • First, it checks to see if there is an active open burn window.
  • Second, it checks the clearing index to see if it is forecast to be above 500.

If there is not an open burn window, or if the clearing index is forecast to be below 500, the program will not allow a person to complete the application. The clearing index is only forecast for a three day period, including the current day. The open burn permit application may be completed up to two days in advance (i.e., Apply on Thursday or Friday if you plan to burn on the weekend).

  • A permit applicant shall provide all information requested on the application.
  • An open burn permit application is required for each separate burn.
  • An open burn permit is valid only on the lands specified in the application and is required to be on site at the time of the burn.
  • All materials to be burned must be clearly described and quantified in the application.
  • Applicants must be aware of any and all local, State, and federal rules and regulations applicable to their area.
  • Open burning may be prohibited in some areas of the state.

There are three ways to complete the open burn permit application:

  • Internet
    The open burn permit application can be completed online. Completing this form online is the easiest and fastest way to complete the open burn permit application. An electronic copy of the application is automatically submitted to the county or municipal fire authority upon completion.

  • Telephone
    An applicant can call the DAQ at 801-536-4000 and complete the open burn permit application process over the phone. A DAQ inspector will ask the applicant for the required information and complete the application in just a few minutes.

  • Mail
    A hard copy of the application may be completed and submitted by mail to DAQ for electronic processing. To request a hard copy of the open burn permit application, contact DAQ by phone at 801-536-4000. 

Note: It may take up to 14 days from the date of request to receive an open burn permit if a hard copy is submitted for processing.

Contact Information

Contact the Division of Air Quality with questions or complaints:

  • Call 801-536-4000

Or visit: