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Guidelines on Open Burning

Brackin, Stephanie <>


For Immediate Release – April 3, 2024

Media Contact:

John Wakefield, Air Quality and Climate Compliance Section Chief

Department of Environmental Conservation


Backyard Burning Reminders Released

Montpelier, Vt. – With spring cleaning underway in some parts of the state, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wants to remind Vermonters to follow a few guidelines for on-premise or backyard open burning.

“Burning materials from spring cleanup can release harmful pollution that can impact neighboring properties,” said DEC Commissioner Jason Batchelder. “By following these guidelines, Vermonters can help reduce air pollution, avoid nuisance impacts, and protect human and environmental health.”

On-premise or backyard burning of brush, deadwood, or tree cuttings collected from normal property maintenance is allowed under the Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations, as long as no public or private nuisance, such as excessive smoke, is created.

Use these guidelines during backyard burning:

  • Allow green materials to dry before burning.
  • Consider the wind speed and direction before burning.
  • Check the Fire Danger Forecast from Forests, Parks and Recreation and postpone burning during periods of elevated fire danger.
  • Check the Air Quality Forecast and postpone burning if atmospheric conditions are not favorable to disperse the smoke.
  • Obtain a local burn permit from your Town Fire Warden.
  • Ensure that the fire burns hot.

“Our best suggestion is to avoid burning altogether and let the materials decompose naturally,” said John Wakefield, Compliance Section Chief for the DEC Air Quality and Climate Division.

Find tips on what to do with excess leaves, grass, and wood – such as composting and brush piles – from the DEC Waste Management and Prevention Division.

Learn more about open burning from the DEC Air Quality and Climate Division.