Open Burning

​Know The Law: Open Burning of Garbage is Illegal

It's the law: 45CSR6 Control of Air Pollution from Combustion of Refuse

Open air burning is a sort of tradition but every time we burn outdoors, we contribute to air pollution in our area. Whether it's waste from yards, home, businesses, or land-clearing, it all adds up to unhealthy air.

Materials Illegal to Open Burn

  • Household trash (burn barrels and/or piles) including paper products - such as cardboard, boxes, etc.
  • Construction, building, or demolition materials (examples: lumber, flooring, roofing material, carpet, plastic, Styrofoam, etc.)
  • Wood pallets and other packaging materials
  • Tires or other rubber products
  • Asbestos-containing materials including building materials
  • Insulation from copper wire
  • Waste paints, waste oil, or solvents


Certain kinds of open burning are still allowed if it doesn't create a nuisance and if it is not prohibited by local ordinances. These types of fires are allowed:

  • Vegetation (leaves, branches and other vegetative matter) grown on the premises of a home or farm.
  • Campfires and outdoor barbecues
  • DAQ approved open burning of land clearing debris described in this pamphlet
  • DAQ approved fire training as described in this pamphlet


If in violation of the open burning law, 45CSR6, refusal to comply may result in a Notice of Violation and/or a fine of up to $10,000 a day.

Open Burning of Land Clearing Debris Must be "Approved"

Approval to Conduct Open Burning for Land Clearing Debris Forms

Vegetative material generated by clearing of land for purposes of preparation for development, construction, mining or other such activity may be open burned provided there is no practical alternative disposal method. Non-vegetative (ex. construction debris) material is not considered land clearing debris. Pitburners should be used whenever practical and may be required in non-rural areas. Additionally, you must complete an 'Approval to Conduct Open Burning Form for Land Clearing Debris' and receive written approval from DAQ.


  • Must be thoroughly dried at least 10 days and piled to promote combustion
  • No trunks, limbs or stumps over eight (8) inches in diameter (before splitting)
  • Conducted during daylight hours, which requires the size of burn piles to be small enough to burn out before dark
  • Fires must be completely extinguished and not allowed to smolder at night
  • All fires must be surrounded by a 10-foot clearing to prevent escape to potential combustible materials
  • Never leave fires unattended, and keep a shovel and water source nearby
  • Health, safety, comfort and property of neighbors are protected from the effects of such burning

Bona Fide Fire Training Must be "Approved"

  • Fire training is for the instruction and training of public and industrial employees and members of volunteer fire departments
  • "Pan fires" using propane, fuel oil, or wood (must be approved by the DAQ)
  • Burning of structures for fire training purposes only - not merely for disposal - with the following provisions:
    • All asphalt or asbestos-containing materials must be removed
    • Must contact and obtain approval from the DAQ for ALL structures to comply with the federal asbestos NESHAP
    • Upon completion of training, the fires must be completely extinguished to prevent smoldering
    • Properly dispose of all remaining debris

Forest Fire Season

During the forest fire seasons, March 1 to May 31 and October 1 to December 31, no open burning may be conducted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. unless a burning permit is obtained from the Division of Forestry and the proper permit fees paid. Also, approval is always required to be obtained from the Division of Air Quality for the open burning of land clearing debris, please contact your local DAQ office for assistance.

What's Blowing in the Wind?

Smoke from outdoor burning clogs our air with a mixture of fine particles and other toxic pollutants that can lodge deep in our lungs when we breathe. It can make breathing difficult and cause serious health problems for many of us.

Be a Good Neighbor

It is never legal to impact your neighbors with smoke, ash or odors. Always consider the time of day, proximity to others, type of material, wind direction and other weather conditions such as air stagnation.

Not the Same Ol' Trash

Burning household waste is a serious threat to public health and the environment. Toxic chemicals, including dioxins, are produced when household waste is burned. One household burn barrel emits more dioxin than a municipal waste incinerator serving thousands of homes. Burning of debris can cause another problem ... Forest Fires.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Many items that are burned in a trash pile or burn barrel can often be recycled. Newspapers, glass, cardboard and many plastics can be recycled. Grass clippings and leaves are ideal to add to a compost pile. Your old attic junk could be given away for someone else to reuse. Check in the back of your local telephone directory for recycling information and sites in your area.

Free Local Landfill Garbage Collection Days

West Virginia's Municipal Sanitary Waste Landfills are required to have free monthly household garbage "dump" days.

It all adds up to cleaner air!

Contact Information

Division of Air Quality

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Air Quality
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25304
(304) 926-0475

  • Fairmont: (304) 368-3910
  • Romney: (304) 822-7266
  • Wheeling: (304) 238-1220

Division of Forestry

West Virginia Department of Commerce
Division of Forestry
1900 Kanawha Boulevard E
Charleston, WV 25305-0180
(304) 558-2788

  • Beckley: (304) 256-6775
  • Elizabeth: (304) 275-0261
  • Farmington: (304) 825-6983
  • Milton: (304) 743-6186
  • Romney: (304) 822-4512