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  • Pre-Application Guidance - Open Burning

    Are you planning to conduct:

    Open burning consisting of one of the following:

    • Residential, construction, or agricultural burning
    • Prescribed burn on private lands without assistance of a federal or state land manager
    • A fire set or permitted by a public officer in the performance of official duty for the purpose of weed abatement or prevention of fire hazard
    • An open outdoor fire of dangerous material because the material is too dangerous to store and transport*
    • An open outdoor fire of household waste in an approved waste burner where household waste is generated on-site on farms or ranches of 40 acres or more or where the nearest dwelling unit is at least 500 feet away and where no household waste collection or disposal service is available*
    • An open outdoor fire using an air curtain destructor? (See Definitions below for assistance in determining the answer.) 

     (* Approval from the Director of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is required.)

    Will you conduct the burning greater than 50 feet from the nearest structure?

    The open outdoor fire is not exempt from a permit because:

    • The fire will not be used only for cooking of food, providing warmth for human beings, recreational purposes, branding of animals, orchard heaters for the purpose of frost protection in farming or nursery operations, or the proper disposal of flags under 4 U.S.C. 1. § 8
    • The fire is not set or permitted by any public officer for control of an active wildfire or instruction on the method of fighting fires
    • The fire is not set or permitted by the control officer of Department of Agriculture for the purpose of disease and pest prevention in an organized, area-wide control of an epidemic or infestation affecting livestock or crops
    • The fire is not a prescribed burn set by or assisted by the federal government or any of its departments, agencies, or agents, or the state or any of its agencies, departments, or political subdivisions.

    The address or parcel where the burn will be conducted is within the jurisdiction of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) and not within the jurisdiction of a delegated Fire District:

    (These Fire Districts are delegated jurisdiction for Open Burning Permits within their districts. Please contact them directly if you intend to conduct open burning within their districts.)

    If all of the above apply then an Open Burning permit is required from PDEQ.  Apply for an Open Burning Permit.


    "Residential burning" means open burning of vegetative materials conducted by or for the occupants of residential dwellings, but does not include burning household waste or prohibited material.
    "Construction burning" means burning wood or vegetative material from land clearing, site preparation, or fabrication, erection, installation, demolition, or modification of any buildings or other land improvements, but does not include burning household waste or prohibited material.
    "Agricultural burning" means burning of vegetative materials related to the production and harvesting of crops and raising of animals for the purpose of marketing for profit, or providing a livelihood, but not including the burning of household waste or prohibited materials. Burning may be conducted in fields, piles, ditch banks, fence rows, or canal laterals for purposes such as weed control, disease and pest prevention, or site preparation.
    "Open outdoor fire or open burning" means the combustion of material of any type, outdoors and in the open, where the products of combustion are not directed through a flue. Open outdoor fires include agricultural, residential, prescribed, and construction burning, and fires using air curtain destructors.
    "Household waste" means any solid waste including garbage, rubbish, and sanitary waste from a septic tank that is generated from households including single and multiple family residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use recreation areas, but does not include construction debris, landscaping rubble, demolition debris or prohibited materials.
    "Prohibited materials" means nonpaper garbage from the processing, storage, service, or consumption of food; chemically treated wood; lead-painted wood; linoleum flooring, and composite counter-tops; tires; explosives or ammunition; oleanders; asphalt shingles; tar paper; plastic and rubber products, including bottles for household chemicals; plastic grocery and retail bags; waste petroleum products, such as waste crankcase oil, transmission oil, and oil filters; transformer oils; asbestos; batteries; anti-freeze; aerosol spray cans; electrical wire insulation; thermal insulation; polyester products; hazardous waste products such as paints, pesticides, cleaners and solvents, stains and varnishes, and other flammable liquids; plastic pesticide bags and containers; and hazardous material containers including those that contained lead, cadmium, mercury, or arsenic compounds.
    "Prescribed burning" means the controlled application of fire to wildland fuels that are in either a natural or modified state, under certain burn and smoke management prescription conditions that have been specified by the land manager in charge of or assisting the burn, to attain planned resource management objectives. Prescribed burning does not include a fire set or permitted by a public officer to provide instruction in fire fighting methods, or construction or residential burning.
    "Dangerous material" means any substance or combination of substances that is capable of causing bodily harm or property loss unless neutralized, consumed, or otherwise disposed of in a controlled and safe manner.
    "Air curtain destructor" means an incineration device designed and used to secure, by means of a fan-generated air curtain, controlled combustion of only wood waste and slash materials in an earthen trench or refractory-lined pit or bin.
    "Approved waste burner" means an incinerator constructed of fire resistant material with a cover or screen that is closed when in use, and has openings in the sides or top no greater than one inch in diameter.

    Note:  This checklist is for guidance only, and not required for submittal to PDEQ.

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    Department of Environmental Quality

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    Tucson, AZ 85701

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