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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I get a permit to burn yard waste like tree trimmings?

A. No. Yard waste could go to landfill or you could make a compost pile.

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Q. Why can't I burn like my neighbors do?

A. If everybody would violate air quality rules our air would become dangerous to breathe. Call (602) 506-6010 or submit a complaint online to report any violations of the open burning rule.

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Q. Who issues burn permits?

A. Maricopa County Air Quality Department, (602) 506-6010.

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Q. What kind of open outdoor fires, which don't require a permit, can I have in Maricopa County?

A.

  • Cooking for immediate human consumption.

  • Warmth for human beings.

  • Recreational purposes (small fire pit or container) use clean dry wood or charcoal.

  • Branding of animals.

  • Orchard heaters for frost protection in farming or nursery operations

  • Wood burning chimineas and outdoor fire pits

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Q. Once I have my burn permit can I burn whenever I want?

A. No. You must call (602) 506-6010 to gain permission from Air Quality to ensure that you aren't burning during a high pollution advisory. And you must call the local fire department for permission. This is done in case a citizen sees and calls to report smoke, the fire department won't respond to a permitted burn.

Fire department denials could happen during very windy days or when fire trucks are down or when fire personnel staffing can't support a fire that could become out of control in which case the fire department might ask you to reschedule. Fires are only to be maintained during day light hours. All fires must be out by dark.

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Q. Can I burn household waste products in a barrel?

A. No. Burning household waste creates dangerous air pollution.

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Q. What kind of burn permits are authorized?

A. Ditchbank and fence row when farmers can't use other mechanical methods. Tumbleweeds, to ensure tumbleweed seeds are destroyed.
Land Clearance, used to clear land for farming.

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Q. Why can't we burn garbage and yard waste like we did back home?

A. Maricopa County is non-attainment for carbon monoxide and particulates, which means the metro Phoenix area's air quality can become poor. To ensure that the air quality doesn't worsen we strictly limit air pollution from open burning.

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Q. What is the process to obtain a burn permit?

A. Call 602-506-6010 to request an air quality investigator to inspect the site. If the investigator approves the burn site an application with their approval will be provided. Next would be to get the fire department with authority to review, approve and sign the application.

If approved by the fire department, you'll need to sign the application and submit with payment to:

Maricopa County Air Quality Department
Open Burns Section
1001 N. Central Ave.
Suite 125
Phoenix, AZ 85004
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Q. What are the consequences of having an illegal open burn?

A. Any person who violates this regulation is guilty of a class one misdemeanor, criminal offense.

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To report violations:
Use the On-Line Complaint form: click here
or call (602) 506-6010
8:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday
(Voice mail is available after business hours)