DEP Home : Community Concerns : Open and Recreational Burning
Report Outdoor Air Quality Issues
Call to Report:311
Open burning is defined as a fire where any material is burned in the open or in a receptacle other than a furnace, incinerator, or other equipment connected to a stack or chimney. It also includes other fires such as 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.
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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 also contributes to regional air quality problems by releasing fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and air toxics.
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 email@example.com 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.
If you are planning a small recreational fire please see the guidelines for recreational burning below.
Lodging is an agricultural term referring to damage to crop roots or stalks (typical caused by adverse weather conditions) that may reduce the ability of the plant to produce. Lodging may also refer to the actual parts of the plants that are damaged.
A salamander is an outdoor construction heater, often fueled with propane or kerosene.
Open burning without a permit is allowed for the following fires, provided that an air pollution nuisance is not created:
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.
Report outdoor air quality violations, call 311, or email DEP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also fill out a Community Complaint Report to notify the Fire Marshal's office of a fire code violation.