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Open Burning Prohibitions and Approved Burns



Prohibitions to Open Burning

Open burning is banned statewide in Delaware during the Ozone Season (May 1-Sept. 30).

Delaware has prohibited the burning of waste and garbage since the state’s first open burning regulations were established in 1967.

Open burning of leaves and grass clippings is also prohibited.

Open burning of land-clearing debris is banned, except for developing land so as to establish agricultural operations.

Prescribed burn - Photo by Bill Jones
Photo by Bill Jones

Prescribed burns — such as this burning to eliminate invasive phragmites — and approved burns for agricultural debris and firefighting training situations are permitted in Delaware, but only outside the state’s Open Burning ban (May 1 - Sept. 30).

Open burning is also prohibited on Air Quality Action days when Delaware’s air quality has been forecast as “unhealthy” by the Regional Air Quality Partnership (AQP) to be unhealthy. The AQP, administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, provides air quality forecasts for ground level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Ozone forecasts are available from May through September both on the website and by calling the Air Quality Partnership Information Line at 1.800.872.7261. Check the forecast daily and take the proper actions to determine if an action day has been forecast that bans open burning.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal may also issue a ban against open burning activity in individual counties or call for it statewide.

The National Weather Service may issue a red flag warning against open burning activity due to unfavorable weather conditions that may result in dangerous fire conditions. 

Approved Open Burning

Approvals and/or notifications are required prior to beginning all burning activities covered by the Open Burning Regulations :

  • Homeowners must notify their local county fire board before initiating any burning activity of yard and garden debris.  (See a Citizen’s Guide to Open Burning) County fire boards can be reached by calling:
    • New Castle County 302.738.3131
    • Kent County 302.734.6040
    • Sussex County 302.856.6306
  • Fire companies must obtain approvals prior to initiating any fire training exercise that involves the demolition of a structure by intentional burning. An asbestos 10-day notification must be submitted to both DNREC and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 3-Philadelphia at least 10 working days prior to any demolition by intentional burning.
  • Land owners and forest management officials must obtain approvals prior to initiating a prescribed burn event, and also must notify the county fire board.

Farmers must submit information and notify DNREC’s Air Quality Management  before initiating an agricultural burn as well as notify the fire board.

For mor information contact Gerald Mood at 302-739-9402 or

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