Open Burns

From bonfires to agricultural open burns, citizens must have approvals from both health and fire officials. If you’re a resident of Broomfield, Boulder, Jefferson or Weld County, you should first contact your county’s health department. Adams County residents should contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Department.

After the health department approves the burn, residents need to contact North Metro’s Fire Prevention Division at (720) 887-8217 to obtain and complete an open burning application.

Definitions

Open burning is defined as the burning of a bonfire, rubbish fire or other fire in an outdoor location where fuel burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit. Open burning of rubbish containing paper products is PROHIBITED.

A recreational fire is defined as the burning of materials other than rubbish where fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill, or barbeque pit and with a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking or similar purposes.

Agricultural open burning is defined as the open burning of cover vegetation for the purpose of preparing the soil for crop production, weed control, maintenance of water conveyance structures related to agricultural operations, and other agricultural cultivation purposes.

A bonfire is defined as the open burning of cut trees, vegetation or clean lumber.

Burns That Require a Permit From North Metro Fire

  • Bonfire
  • Agricultural open burning
  • Fires larger than 3 feet in diameter and/or 2 feet in height

Burns That DON’T Require a Permit

  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Barbeque grills
  • Barbeque pits
  • Fires less than 3 feet in diameter and/or 2 feet in height for religious, ceremonial, cooking or similar uses

After Permit is Issued

All open burning shall be conducted in accordance with the adopted fire code as enforced by North Metro Fire, with emissions standards as administered by the applicable county health department or the State of Colorado (where there is no county health department), and with regard to public safety as determined by the county sheriff.

Under the authority of the adopted fire code, North Metro Fire may ban all open burning for reasons deemed necessary (i.e., high fire danger, high winds, county burn bans or fire restrictions, etc.). Fire and weather conditions change constantly and are continuously evaluated by Fire Prevention Division staff throughout the day.

The county health department is also empowered to ban all open burning for reasons deemed necessary, such as poor air quality, etc. Please contact the Clean Air Advisory Line at (303) 758-4848 to determine if open burning is permitted.

Furthermore, the county sheriff may also ban all open burning for reasons deemed necessary. Notification of such a ban is provided via a press release to local newspapers with a copy provided to the fire jurisdiction(s) affected. The information can also often be found on the county sheriff’s website.

North Metro Fire requires that a copy of the county health department or State of Colorado exemption letter accompany an application for permit in order to process any request for an open burn permit. Telephone numbers for the county health departments and the State of Colorado are listed below:

Boulder County Health: (303) 441-4500
Broomfield County Health: (720) 887-2220
Jefferson County Health: (303) 271-5700
State of Colorado: (303) 692-3268