|Rules for Residential Burning in Indiana
Because of high regional ozone levels, no household or yard waste may be burned by residents in Lake, Porter, Clark or Floyd counties. In all other counties open burning of clean wood products may be permitted according to the following rules.
Please note this should only be considered a summary of the rules and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please refer to 326 IAC 4-1, IC 13-17-9 and P.L. 248-1997 for state regulations. Your town, city, or county also may have an ordinance that could be more restrictive than the state laws. Call your local health department, fire department or solid waste district before burning.
According to state law, these rules must always be followed:
- Only clean wood products may be burned
- Burning must be done during safe weather conditions, not during high winds, prolonged dry periods, or on pollution alert days
- Fires must be attended until completely extinguished
- Burning must be done during daylight hours
- Material may be burned only in a noncombustible and ventilated container, such as a metal drum with enclosed sides and bottom. Burning in or on the ground is illegal.
- Open burning is not allowed at mobile home parks, apartment complexes or buildings of more than four dwelling units.
- Fires must be extinguished if they create a hazard, nuisance, pollution problem or threat to public health
- Fire fighting equipment adequate for the size of the fire must be nearby.
- Burning must comply with all other federal, state and local laws, rules and ordinances.
What kind of open burning does the state allow?
State law allows several open burning activities, subject to conditions that will minimize the impact on air quality. Some examples of permissible burning, which may interest residents, are listed bellow. This information should only be considered a summary of the rules and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice. Please refer to 326 IAC 4-1, IC 13-17-9 and P.L. 248-1997 for state regulations. Other burning activities may be granted special approval by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Call (800) 451-6027, press zero and ask for extension 30178, or (317) 211-0178 for more information on approvals. No approval will be granted for residential burning in Clark, Floyd, Lake or Porter counties.
- Burning of vegetation for wildlife habitat maintenance, forest and natural area management and fire fighting or prevention
- Recreational or ceremonial fires, such as barbecues, campfires and fires for scouting activities
- Burning of vegetation from a farm, an orchard, nursery, cemetery, tree farm or a drainage ditch
Open dumping is the improper and illegal disposal of regulated solid waste at an unpermitted solid waste site. According to Indiana Regulation 329 IAC 10-4-2, “No person shall cause or allow the storage, containment, processing, or disposal of solid waste in a manner which creates a threat to human health or the environment, including the creating of a fire hazard, vector attraction, air or water pollution, or other contamination.”
Regulated solid waste can only be discarded at a state permitted solid waste land disposal facility, state permitted transfer station, state permitted incinerator, or recycling facility.
Prohibited wastes include but are not limited to:
- Household building debris
- Construction and demolition waste
- Household garbage
- Hazardous waste
Additional prohibited wastes can be found in 329 IAC 10-2.5.1 (b) (64). If you are dumping or burning these materials, you are breaking the law. State law provides that you can be fined up to $25,000.00 per day per violation, not including fines or penalties that local or federal agencies may assess against you.
The following solid waste items are commonly excluded from solid waste regulation and not therefore required to be disposed of in a permitted disposal site:
- Uncontaminated rocks, bricks, concrete, road demolition waste materials, or dirt
- Uncontaminated and untreated natural growth solid waste including tree limbs, stumps, leaves, and grass clippings.
- Saw dust, which is derived from processing untreated natural wood.
See 329 IAC 10-3-1 for additional information on solid waste activities excluded from regulation.