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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services


Open burning is - The burning of combustible material where the emissions do not vent through a stack, chimney or flue, but is released directly to the air. Open Burning is regulated under RSA 125-C and New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules 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.

Open burning is limited to:

  • Untreated wood, campfire wood, brush, or charcoal in a campfire, outdoor grill, or outdoor fireplace for recreational purposes or for preparation of food;
  • On-Premises burning for the purpose of frost prevention or agricultural, forestry or wildlife habitat improvement;
  • Burning of untreated wood, campfire wood, or brush in bonfires in conjunction with holiday or festive celebrations;
  • On-site burning by the landowner of brush with leaves, provided the materials originates on-site;
  • On-site burning, by the owner of a private single-family residence occupied by the owner, of untreated lumber, provided the material originates on-site;
  • Burning by any city or town of brush; and,
  • The incidental combustion, under the supervision of a solid waste facility operator, of the untreated wood component of construction and demolition debris at any municipal transfer station subject to regulation under RSA 149-M.
    Incidental means: Occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary 2016)

! Burning of any of the following materials is strictly prohibited:

  • Construction & demolition debris
  • Tires
  • Household trash
  • Packaging materials
  • Plastics
  • Coated or laminated paper
  • Coated or treated cardboard
  • Oily rags
  • Animal, vegetable and kitchen waste
  • Used Oil, gasoline and hazardous waste
  • Brush greater than 5 inches in diameter
  • Any wood that has been painted/stained, glued, or treated in any way

Health and Environmental Affects

The resultant smoke and ash from burning prohibited materials is harmful to you and your family’s 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 barrel puts as much of some toxic chemicals (such as dioxin and furans) in the air as a well-controlled municipal incinerator burning trash from thousands of homes!

Ash Disposal

You are liable for the proper cleanup and disposal of ash and debris from the burning of prohibited materials. The ash must be promptly disposed at a facility authorized to receive it. Do not abandon, bury, spread or dump it anywhere except at an authorized facility. Special handling procedures apply if the ash contains asbestos. To protect public health and the environment, you must restrict access, post signs as needed, and keep the material wet or covered until it is properly disposed of or testing confirms it contains no asbestos. For assistance with ash disposal please contact the NHDES Solid Waste Management Bureau at 603-271-2925


A fire permit (Permit to Kindle a Fire) from a local Forest Fire Warden, the State Forest Ranger, and local authorities is required (if applicable) for permissible opening burning activities. Fire permits are issued by the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire