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Open Burning

The Maricopa County Air Quality Open Burn Program regulates all open outdoor fires. The purpose of this program is to limit the emissions of air contaminants that are produced from open burning. Any burning of material outdoors (where a flue or chimney is not used) is generally prohibited unless it is a process that is exempt from the general requirement (see Exemptions below).

Open Burn PhotoBurn permits are only issued for certain activities which will be described below. After a person has been issued a burn permit they are required to call the Air Quality Department for permission before beginning to burn. Permission to burn is presumed if the following steps have been taken:

  1. No High Pollution Advisories have been recorded for that day. (Advisories are recorded at (602) 506-6400)
  2. The local fire agency has determined that it is safe to burn that day.
  3. Notification is made to the Air Quality Department by phone (602) 506-6010, fax (602) 506-0586), or email.

The following information is required when notifying the department of a burn:

  1. Date of burn;
  2. Type and quantity of material burned;
  3. Type of fire (e.g. ditchbank)
  4. Location of burn by township, range and section; latitude and longitude to nearest degree minute; street address; or parcel number.

Activities that a burn permit may be issued for:

  1. Open fires that are declared necessary by the County Agricultural Agent for the purposes of disease and/or pest control.
  2. Open fires for the control of weeds for the prevention of fire hazards, when such fires are declared necessary by a public officer in the performance of his official duties.
  3. Open fires for fire fighting training (an exemption for the burn permit requirement also exists for this type of burning).
  4. Open fires for the burning of agricultural ditchbanks and fence rows where other methods of weed removal are not available.
  5. Open fires for the destruction of tumble weeds where other reasonable methods are not available.
  6. Open fires for the burning of native scrub vegetation in non-urban areas where other reasonable methods are not available.
  7. Open fires using an air curtain destructor for the burning of certain material, including citrus trees and vegetation. See the appendix to Rule 314 for more information about air curtain destructors and burn pits.
  8. Open fires declared necessary by the Federal government or the State government for the purpose of watershed rehabilitation or control through vegetative manipulation.

Exemptions to the requirement to obtain a burn permit:

  1. Domestic cooking for immediate human consumption.
  2. Warmth for human beings.
  3. Recreational purposes, where the burning material is clean, dry wood or charcoal.
  4. Branding animals.
  5. Orchard heaters for frost protection in farming or nurseries.
  6. Disposal of dangerous materials. Burn must still be conducted according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's regulations and permission to burn must still be obtained.
  7. Fire extinguisher training. This is limited to small fires in a small container, such as a waste basket.
  8. Testing potentially explosive or flammable products in accordance with the Department of Transportation or Defense guidelines. Permission must still be obtained from the County Control Officer before this type of burn takes place.
  9. Testing potentially explosive-containing products for commercial, military, and law enforcement uses. Permission must still be obtained from the County Control Officer before this type of burn takes place.
  10. Fire fighting training areas and training structures when the sole source of flame is a burner fueled by LP gas or natural gas. Permission must still be obtained from the County Control Officer before this type of burn takes place.