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Open Burning

Under the Air Pollution Control Regulations, the open burning of natural wood from property maintenance, clearing of property, and so forth is allowed without a permit from the Air Quality & Climate Division. The open burning of some materials, including wood waste from demolition activities at a business or industry, is also allowed but requires a permit. If a permit is issued, it generally will be for the burning of wood only, and only in locations where the smoke will not cause a potential nuisance or health concern. Open burning of trash using a "burn barrel", "home-made incinerator", or simply in a pile on the ground, is not allowed in Vermont.

Illegal open burning of various types of refuse.

An example of an illegal "home-made incinerator."

Open burning, showing the wide area potentially affected by smoke.

You may need to obtain an additional permit from your local fire warden or other local officials. The fire wardens operate under Forest and Parks Rules to prevent wildfires and are not responsible for the enforcement of Environmental Rules. Please check with your local fire warden or other authorities before lighting any fires. Some cities and towns may prohibit open burning altogether. During conditions such as drought, cities and towns may temporarily ban all open burning due to the risk of starting wildfires.

In any instance of open burning of any materials, whether permits are required from the Air Quality and Climate Division or local officials or not, the Division encourages the use of air quality forecasting to aid in minimizing potential health impacts associated with burning activities. Additional information regarding utilizing air quality forecasting can be found at the “Recommendations for Utilizing Air Quality Forecasts for Open Burning ” link below.

If you wish to apply for a permit to burn construction, demolition or commercial waste, please call the Air Quality & Climate Division at 802-828-1288.


  1. List of Fire Wardens
  2. Recommendations for Utilizing Air Quality Forecasts for Open Burning
  3. Construction and Demolition Waste Disposal (Fact Sheet)
  4. Construction and Demolition Waste Disposal (Pamphlet)
  5. Open Burning (Pamphlet)
  6. Don't Burn VT Website


Note: pamphlets have the same content as fact sheets but are in a multi-column format more suitable for mailing. Pamphlets can be obtained in quantity by contacting the Division.

Images of trash burning posters courtesy of the Windham Solid Waste Management District

last updated 6/5/15


VT DEC Air Quality & Climate Division Davis Building 2nd Floor, 1 National Life Drive   Montpelier, VT  05620-3802  Tele: 802-828-1288 Fax: 802-828-1250

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