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Open Burning. North Carolina Division of Air Quality. Air Quality Regional Offices. Winston-Salem. Raleigh. Asheville. Mooresville. Washington. Fayetteville. Wilmington. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Regional Offices.

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Open burning
Open Burning

North Carolina

Division of Air Quality

Air quality regional offices
Air Quality Regional Offices








North Carolina Department of

Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

Regional offices

Asheville Regional Office

2090 US Hwy 70Swannanoa, NC 28778Phone: (828) 296-4500Fax: (828) 299-7043

Fayetteville Regional Office

225 Green Street Suite 714Fayetteville, NC 28301Phone: (910) 433-3300Fax: (910) 485-7467

Raleigh Regional Office

3800 Barrett DriveRaleigh, NC 27609Phone: (919) 791-4200Fax: (919) 881-2261

Mooresville Regional Office

610 E. Center Avenue Suite 301Mooresville, NC 28115Phone: (704) 663-1699Fax: (704) 663-7579

Wilmington Regional Office

127 Cardinal Drive ExtensionWilmington, NC 28405Phone: (910) 796-7215Fax: (910) 350-2004

Washington Regional Office

943 Washington Square MallWashington, NC 27889Phone: (252) 946-6481Fax: (252) 975-3716

Winston-Salem Regional Office

585 Waughtown StreetWinston-Salem, NC 27107Phone: (336) 771-5000Fax: (336) 771-4632

Local Environmental Programs

Buncombe County

Western NC Regional Air Pollution Control Agency49 Mount Carmel RoadAsheville, NC 28806Phone: (828) 250-6777 Fax: (828) 255-5226

Forsyth County

Environmental Affairs Dept.537 N. Spruce StreetWinston-Salem, NC 27101Phone: (336) 703-2440Fax: (336) 703-2456

Mecklenburg County

Dept. of Environmental Protection

700 N. Tryon Street, Suite 205

Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: (704) 336-5430Fax: (704) 336-4391

Open burning rule
Open Burning Rule

  • Protects environment and human health

  • One of NC’s oldest air quality rules - adopted in 1971

  • Regulates outdoor burning

  • Sets conditions for allowable fires

  • Violators can be fined up to $25,000 per violation or more in serious cases

Nc forest service
NC Forest Service

  • Responsible for protecting state and privately owned forest land from forest fires

  • Forest fire prevention

  • Controlling wildfires

  • NCFS issues open burning permits

  • DAQ does not issue open burning permits

Local government
Local Government

  • Local agencies and fire officials may have other ordinances

  • Local ordinances must be no less stringent than the state regulation

  • Following one agency’s regulation does not guarantee compliance with other agencies

  • Contact your local agencies prior to any open burning

Why limit open burning
Why Limit Open Burning?

  • Smoke from open burning pollutes the air and is unhealthy to breathe

  • Potential health effects include

    • Lung and eye irritation

    • Headaches dizziness

    • Asthma attacks

    • Coughing and wheezing

  • Air pollution can damage trees and crops

Nc air quality action days
NC Air Quality Action Days

Action days occur when ozone or particle pollution is forecasted to be higher than AQ standards.

On code orange, red, or purple days in air quality forecast areas the following types of open burning are prohibited:

  • Yard waste

  • Land clearing debris

  • Natural disaster material

  • Fire training

    DAQ recommends no burningthroughout the rest of the region on code orange, red, or purple days!

Nc air quality action days1
NC Air Quality Action Days

  • Forest management practices

  • Agricultural practices

  • Wildlife management practices

    Practices must be acceptable to the North Carolina Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, or Wildlife Management Commission

Exceptions to prohibited open burning on code orange, red, or purple days

Air quality forecast
Air Quality Forecast

Check the forecast in your area before you burn!

  • Website:

  • Phone: 1-888-784-6224

  • (1-888-RU4NCAIR)

  • Email:

If it doesn t grow don t burn it
If It Doesn’t Grow, Don’t Burn It

It is always illegal to burn trash and other non-vegetative material

Open burning in north carolina

ALL Burning Is Prohibited

EXCEPT what is allowed in the rule.

  • What may be burned?

    • Residential – small, vegetative yard wastes (only if public-up is not available)

    • Non-Residential – Nothing except land clearing debris

      (businesses, schools, churches, etc)

  • The burning must follow NC Air Quality Rules

  • It is always illegal to burn trash and other non-vegetative material

  • Businesses may never burn, except for land clearing debris

Other allowable burning
Other Allowable Burning

  • Campfires

  • Outdoor cooking

  • Bonfires for festive occasions

  • Managing forests or wildlife habitats

  • Controlling agricultural pests and diseases

  • Disposing of storm debris from hurricanes and other natural disasters (Requires DAQ prior approval)

Never burn these materials
Never Burn These Materials:

  • Trash, garbage

  • Lumber and Pallets

  • Treated wood

  • Tires

  • Newspapers and other paper products

  • Wire and coated wire

  • Structures – standing or demolished

  • Asphalt shingles

  • Plastics, synthetics

  • Heavy oils

  • Paints

  • Household, agricultural chemicals

Residential yard waste burning1
Residential Yard Waste Burning

  • Must originate on a PRIVATE residence and be burned on that site

  • If public pickup is NOT available

  • Leaves, branches, grass clippings, and other plant waste

  • Does not allow stumps and logs over 6 inches in diameter

  • Must occur between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Air quality forecast - Code green or yellow

  • Smoke cannot create a nuisance

  • No setback distances

Land clearing debris burning1
Land Clearing Debris Burning

  • Only vegetative material such as logs, stumps and limbs

  • May use kerosene or diesel fuel to start

  • Start and add to the pile only between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Setback Requirements:

    • 250 feet from public road (Wind Direction – National Weather Service Forecast)

    • 500 feet from occupied structure (not on burn site)

  • Air Quality Forecast - Code Green or Yellow

  • Every pile can be considered a separate violation

Setback exception 500 feet distance waiver
Setback Exception (500 feet distance waiver)

  • Applies ONLY to open burning vegetative land clearing debris

  • Allows open burning within 500 feet of occupied structures

  • Requires DAQ prior approval

    • Forms from DAQ website

    • Signatures of those w/in 500 ft

    • Maps

Air curtain burner requirements
Air Curtain Burner Requirements

  • Vegetative material only (On-site)

  • 250 feet from public road

  • 300 feet from occupied structure (not on site)

  • 10% Opacity limit (excluding 45 minute start-up)

  • Air quality forecast - Code green or yellow

  • DAQ prior notification and approval required

Fire fighter training1
Fire Fighter Training

  • Training exercises at permanent fire training facilities(Under supervision of colleges and fire academies/training centers)

No DAQ notification or prior approval required

Fire fighter training2
Fire Fighter Training

  • Abandoned structures – Extinguish & rescue

  • Junked vehicles – Extinguish & rescue

DAQ notification form & prior approval required

Impermissible fire training
Impermissible Fire Training

  • Salvageable items, such as insulated wire and electric motors

  • If the primary purpose of the fire is to dispose of synthetic materials or refuse.

  • Previously demolished structures

Meet the following conditions
Meet The Following Conditions

  • Notification – Regional office (10 days prior to burn – can FAX)

  • Notification and approval – HHCU/Asbestos (Notification must be postmarked 10 working days prior to the start date. Faxes not accepted)

  • Change schedule – Notify HHCU in writing prior to original start date and Call DAQ regional office

  • Air quality forecast - Code green or yellow

Complaint investigation process
Complaint Investigation Process

  • DAQ receives complaint from:

    • Citizens

    • Other agencies (Fire Dept, NCFS, etc)

  • All complaints are investigated by:

    • DAQ (phone, site visit)

    • Other agencies

  • Complaints investigated by other agencies:

    • Referral of information to DAQ

    • DAQ may do site visit (depending on nature and severity of burn)

    • DAQ addresses every complaint received

Daq enforcement
DAQ Enforcement

  • If a violation is documented, DAQ will:

    • Issue Notice of Violation


    • Notice of Recommendation for Enforcement

      • Civil Penalty Assessment (Up to $25,000 per violation which goes to the county school system)

  • If a violation cannot be documented, DAQ will:

    • Close case – may issue an open burning information letter

Breathe don t burn
Breathe… Don’t Burn!

  • Outdoor fires pollute the air

  • Smoke is unhealthy to breathe

  • Recycle or properly dispose of waste

Open burning alternatives
Open Burning Alternatives

  • Compost yard waste

  • Chip tree limbs

  • Land clearing debris

    • Haul to sawmill or pulpwood yard

    • Chip or tub grind remaining material

  • Recycle or re-use non-vegetative material

  • Contact local solid waste facility

Contact N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach

Or 1-877-623-6748

North carolina division of air quality
North Carolina Division of Air Quality



North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources