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Open Burning

NHDES limits materials that can be burned where emissions of air pollutants are released directly to the air.

Smoke billows from an outside fireOpen burning is the burning of combustible material where emissions do not pass through a stack, chimney or flue, but is released directly to the air. NHDES regulates open burning under RSA 125-C and Env-A 1000, Prevention Abatement and Control of Open Sources of Air Pollution.

In addition, RSA 125-N prohibits the open burning of household waste.
 

image of brush pile, legal to burn 

What are the requirements for open burning? 

Open Burning rules under Env-A 1000 were first adopted in 1973. Open burning of trash, construction and demolition debris, and other non-conforming items is not allowed. Smoke from open burning of certain materials increases the chance of lung infections or heart attack, may trigger asthma attacks, and may cause certain diseases such as lung cancer.   

Anyone who wishes to burn clean, ordinary combustibles such as leaves or brush, MUST have written permission from the landowner and a fire permit from the local forest fire warden or local fire department. 

Read More About Open Burning  

image of outdoor fire

What can I burn?

Many New Hampshire residents enjoy campfires for warmth, recreation, and cooking. Increase your enjoyment of outdoor fires by knowing how and what’s safe to burn.   

Anyone who wishes to have a camp or cooking fire MUST have written permission from the landowner and a fire permit from the local forest fire warden or local fire department.

Watch the Clean Campfire Public Service Announcement  

image of burn barrel with burnt trash on the ground

Why is trash burning prohibited? 

NH state law, RSA 125-N, prohibits residential trash burning. The smoke and ash from burning prohibited materials is harmful to your health and can contaminate your property and the environment. According to an EPA study, burning a week’s worth of trash from a single home in an open burn barrel puts as much toxic chemicals into the air as a well-controlled municipal incinerator burning trash from thousands of homes.   

Read More about Dangers of Residential Trash Burning