Skip to main content

Open Burning: Stay safe and informed

As spring ushers in warmer weather and outdoor activities, it is important to remember fire safety, especially when it comes to open burning. Whether you are clearing your yard or enjoying a bonfire, here are some things to keep in mind:

Leaf Burning

Leaves burning in a fire ring. 


Know what you can burn: Avoid burning plastic, rubber, foam, chemicals, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, or hazardous materials that can release harmful chemicals into the air.  If you are burning trees, logs, brush, or stumps, ensure you are at least 1400 feet away from the boundary of an incorporated city or village.           

Prioritize fire safety: Before lighting any fire, ensure you have proper safety measures in place.    Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, clear the area around the fire from any flammable materials, and have a water source readily available.  Remember, it is crucial to avoid burning on windy days, as this can cause fires to spread uncontrollably; and NEVER leave a fire unattended, even for a short period.

Respect local regulations: Be aware of and comply with any additional local regulations regarding open burning. Additionally, some municipalities may have ordinances that prohibit open burning altogether or have specific restrictions in place.

Check for burn permits: In Michigan, a burn permit is required for open burning any time the ground is not completely covered by snow.  Be sure to check with your local authorities to obtain the necessary permits.  Check to see if weather conditions are safe. A map will show by location whether burning is permitted.

Before burning, consider an alternative such as recycling or composting.  By exploring these alternatives, you can minimize your impact on the environment while still managing waste effectively.

For more information on open burning visit

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources contributed to this article.