Open Burning in El Paso County

Open Burning Permits

Colorado air pollution control laws and regulations prohibit open burning throughout the State unless a permit has been obtained from the appropriate air pollution control authority. In granting or denying any such permit, El Paso County Public Health shall base its action on the potential contribution to air pollution in the area and weather conditions on the day(s) of such burning.

  • Open Burning Permit applications must be submitted by 11:00AM on the last regular workday prior to the proposed burn date.
  • Open Burning Permits may be approved for the purpose of disposing of untreated natural wood or slash (sticks and branches no greater than 4 inches in diameter), dry leaves, dry grass, dry weeds, and other similar dry natural vegetative materials.
  • Open Burning Permits may also be approved for broadcast burns of 10 acres or less of grass, OR 5 acres or less of other vegetation.
  • Open Burning Permits will not be approved for the purpose of disposing of trash, garbage, tree stumps, treated wood, pallet wood, lumber, construction material, demolition debris, chemicals, plastic, or any substance which, if ignited, may release toxic materials. Such materials must be properly recycled, reused or disposed of at an approved landfill.
  • Open Burning Permits are not required for recreational fires, agricultural open burning, noncommercial cooking of human food, prescribed burning approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or for training fires meeting the requirements of NFPA Standard 1403.

Standard Open Burning Conditions

During publicly announced periods of AIR POLLUTION EMERGENCY or ALERT, all open burning permits are suspended in the affected areas. No open burning is allowed when the El Paso County Fire Warden has declared a ban on open fires.

Each day that a proposed burn will take place, the permit holder shall notify:

  • El Paso County Public Health – for weekend or holiday burns, notification shall be provided on the preceding business day prior to 12:00pm.
  • The appropriate fire department or district, as well as the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, prior to ignition and after extinguishing the open burn.
  • All adjacent landowners, including those separated by a road or right of way.

Burning shall be restricted to the item(s) and location identified in the permit.

  • Only clean, dry wood and/or natural vegetative material(s) with a diameter of not more than 4 inches may be burned.
  • It is prohibited to open-burn certain wood-bearing items including: tree stumps, most construction materials, and pallets.
  • It is prohibited to burn any material that is not wood.
a pile of wood is on fire in the grass

Open burning of vegetative materials for disposal must be conducted in an open pile configuration no larger than 8 ft. wide X 8 ft. long X 8 ft. high. Fire containment vessels of any type, including “burn barrels”, are prohibited for open burning.

Ignition of materials shall occur between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (“Ignition of materials”- includes both starting a fire and adding more material to an existing fire.) All fires must be completely extinguished by no later than sunset.

At no time shall the burn be left unattended. Burning shall be supervised by one or more responsible persons depending on the type of burning. Precautions shall be taken to localize the burning and in no way constitute a fire hazard to persons or property within or adjacent to the area of burning. The granting authority and the employees or agents thereof, in the issuing of a permit, do not assume any responsibility for any actions that result in damage to the person or property of the permit holder or any other person.

This permit is for compliance with air pollution requirements only and is not a permit to violate any existing local laws, rules, regulations, or ordinances regarding fire, zoning, or building.

Before igniting an open burn, a fire safety open burning permit from the El Paso County Fire Warden is also required in accordance with El Paso County Ordinance 22-001. El Paso County Public Health forwards all air quality open burning permits to the El Paso County Fire Warden for review.

The permit holder is responsible for obtaining any additional permits and/or clearances from any appropriate fire control office, local agency, or other official prior to submission of this permit.

The permit holder, permit holder’s employees, agents, and assignees shall abide by all conditions and restrictions of the permit. Failure to comply will render the permit null and void.

Applications are reviewed by a qualified Environmental Health Specialist and must be completed in their entirety. For questions regarding the application process or application requirements please contact our office at (719) 578-3199, option 3.