As spring time arrives in Harford County, homeowners and others begin their annual yard clearing and maintenance projects. Often this results in property owners trying to use open burning to dispose of brush and other debris. Following are excerpts from information provided by our affiliated agencies. Please read and determine your responsibilities if you intend to use open burning to eliminate yard debris at your location.
Do I need a permit to do open air burning? YES !!!
In Harford County open air burning permits are issued by the Health Department. All open burning must be done in accordance with Maryland Department of the Environment Air Quality Regulations, COMAR 26.11.07 and Code of Harford County, Section 109.12. To apply for a open burning permit call (410) 638-8437 or (410) 879-2404.
The following regulations for open air burning apply, after the permit is obtained:
1. Prior to the start of the burning call Fire Communications at (410) 638-3400.
2. At the completion of each days burning re-contact Fire Communications at (410) 638-3400.
3. No burning will be done during heavy overcast or other conditions which do not allow smoke to rise and disperse.
4. Burning should be controlled at all times, in a manner to prevent creating a nuisance.
5. The burner must comply with applicable Maryland Forest, Park and Wildlife Service Regulations.
6. The following materials may not be burned at any time:
- logs in excess of 12" in diameter.
- tree stumps in excess of 6" in diameter.
- any trash or garbage.
- any material that will produce a dense or toxic smoke. i.e. rubber tires, tar roofing materials and plastics.
The Maryland DNR Forest Service responds to an average of 660 wildfires that burn 3,600 acres annually. Nearly all wildfires in Maryland are started by people. Debris or open air burning is the leading wildfire cause in the state accounting for over 30% of wildfire starts.
Open Burning Alternatives-
Compost leaves and yard waste.
Deliver brush to approved Harford County disposal sites where it may be ground into mulch.
Larger wood can be used as firewood.
• Don’t burn on windy days
• Have hand tools & water hose ready
• Never leave your fire unattended
• Burn at a safe distance from your house, shed, or other structures.
• Check for additional local and state regulations
For additional regulations go to http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=26.11.07.*
Maryland's Open Burning Ban-
In effect annually between June 1 and September 1.
As in past years, a seasonal open burning ban will be imposed in: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties and Baltimore City.
The ban includes the open burning that is primarily used as a form of disposal of certain waste materials by individuals, farmers, and developers.
The ban does not affect backyard barbecue grilling or open fires for recreational purposes, such as campfires. Public officers may authorize certain other types of fires.
The purpose of all of the above regulations is to insure that citizens using open burning to dispose of brush and yard debris do so in a manner that provides safety to themselves, their community, and the environment. Too often these so-called "controlled burns" are allowed to become un-controlled and the results can be devastating. Please adhere to all requirements set forth by the various agencies having responsibility for the permitting of open air burning.