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Open Burning by Fire Companies


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Agricultural Burning
Occasionally, fire companies are asked to conduct the burning of crop residue, field perimeter maintenance material, or land clearing material from the establishment of agricultural operations for safety reasons.  These types of burns are allowed and do not require any paperwork from the fire company.  However, they are considered agricultural burns, and require paperwork from the property owner.

Demolition via Firefighter Instruction
Burning structures in order to dispose of them is strictly prohibited.  However, property owners sometimes donate buildings and other standing structures to Delaware Fire Companies for the purpose of conducting live firefighting training for their company’s members. These training exercises help firefighters develop competency and proficiency in battling blazes and learn structural rescue skills.

Procedure for Demolition of Donated Buildings or Structures:

  1. Before a building or other structure can be used for live firefighting instruction, it must first be appraised for its condition and training value by the fire company. The structure must be standing, allow for valuable training exercises, and the fire company must be in need of training at that time.
  2. The property owner must then ensure that a thorough asbestos inspection has been conducted by a Delaware licensed professional service firm (asbestos inspector) in accordance with both state and federal law. The asbestos inspector will issue a certified report on the findings. 
  3. If any asbestos-containing material is present, the property owner must ensure it is removed prior to obtaining approvals from DNREC’s Division of Air Quality. Removal of the asbestos-containing material must be done by a Delaware licensed asbestos contractor (NOTE: The homeowner exemption for removal of asbestos-containing material from a residence by the homeowner does not apply to structures designated for demolition via firefighting instruction.)
  4. Once the Delaware licensed asbestos contractor has completed their work, the property shall be re-inspected by a Delaware licensed professional service firm in order to confirm that ALL asbestos-containing material has been removed. The final report will be certified by the asbestos inspector stating ALL asbestos-containing material identified in the earlier inspection has been removed.
  5. The property owner of the building to be demolished via firefighting instruction must provide copies of the final asbestos inspection report and Notification of Demolition or Renovation to the Delaware fire company.
  6. The Delaware fire company would then submit the completed Application for Demolition via Firefighting Instruction to DNREC’s Division of Air Quality.

     DNREC Division of Air Quality
     Attn. Open Burning
     State Street Commons
     100 W. Water Street, Suite 6A
     Dover, DE 19904
     FAX 302-739-3106

  7. DNREC’s Division of Air Quality will review the fire company’s application and issue an Open  Burning Tracking Number through a written approval when the information is deemed complete.
  8. If for any reason the demolition via firefighting instruction cannot occur on the day noted on the application, the fire company must notify DNREC’s Division of Air Quality of the new date as soon as possible. 

Contact information:
Tom Postell
(302) 739-9402


Last Revised: 6/20/16

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