Burning permit information
A burning permit grants the individual holder the right to burn small amounts of dry leaves, plant clippings, brush, and clean untreated-unpainted wood as long as weather conditions do not pose a fire hazard.
Please note that while DNR issues statewide regulations, if you live within a municipality that controls the open burning, local permits or more stringent regulations may apply.
General burning information
- Where do I get a permit?
- When do I need an open burning permit?
- When is a permit not needed?
- What can I burn with a permit or in an approved burner?
- What materials cannot be burned?
- What if I want to burn a structure?
- Where do I get a permit?
- What are burning permit restrictions?
- How are the dates for spring restrictions determined?
- What is a burning ban?
- How do I report a wildfire?
You need an open burning permit when:
- you want to start an outdoor fire other than those listed in the exceptions below
- you have a fire in an approved burner between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
A permit is not needed:
- for a "campfire"—a fire set for cooking, warming, or ceremonial purposes, which is not more than 3 feet in diameter by 3 feet high, and has had the ground 5 feet from the base of the fire cleared of all combustible material
- when the ground is snow-covered — by definition, when there is a continuous unbroken cover of snow 3 inches deep or more surrounding the immediate area of the fire, sufficient to keep the fire from spreading
- for a fire contained in a charcoal grill, camp stove, or other device designed for cooking or heating
- for a fire in an approved burner , and there is no combustible material within 5 feet of the base of the burner, and it is in use between the 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
- You may burn vegetative material, such as grass, leaves, brush, and untreated lumber.
You may not burn:
- hazardous wastes
- industrial solid waste
- demolition debris of commercial or institutional structures (farm buildings are not considered commercial structures)
- salvage operations
- motor vehicles
- chemically treated materials
- other materials which produce excessive or noxious smoke, such as tires, railroad ties, chemically treated lumber, composite board, drywall, wiring, paint, or paint filters
- garbage, defined as discarded material resulting from the handling, processing, storage, preparation, serving, or consumption of food.
If you'd like to burn a structure, contact a forest officer.
- Contact your local DNR Forestry Office.
- Contact a fire warden. Fire wardens are volunteers commissioned by a DNR forest officer to issue open burning permits.
- Purchase a burning permit online. There is a $5 charge per calendar year for this service.
- Burning permits are not issued in fire-prone portions of the state in the spring when fire danger is traditionally high. A variance to permit open burning, however, may be obtained for special circumstances such as prescribed fire projects, approved agricultural practices, construction projects, or economic hardship. Variances may only be issued by DNR Forestry personnel. Dates of the restrictions are posted on this website each spring.
- These spring restrictions only regulate fires that require a permit. Recreational campfires are still allowed under annual spring restrictions.
- Restrictions are determined based on the availability and condition of fine fuels such as standing dead vegetation in fields, swamps, and other open areas that can be totally wet but when conditions change can dry and burn in a matter of hours. These fine fuels play a role in most fires responded to each year because when dry they ignite easily and can spread fire quickly. Once restrictions are established in an area, they remain in place until green-up occurs and fire danger is drastically reduced.
- A burning ban is a restriction issued for a specified part of the state under extremely dry conditions in which existing burning permits are canceled and new permits not issued. Burning in approved burners, recreational fires, and even smoking outdoors may be prohibited, depending on the fire danger. This action is generally taken when fire risk becomes extreme across a broad area of the state. A burning ban is used only in the most severe conditions and is more restrictive.
- Report any suspected unauthorized fires by calling 911. (If 911 is not available in your area, your local DNR Forestry office can provide you with the numbers to call; call collect if necessary.) If in doubt, report a fire. An early report helps keep fires small.
- Detailed information is extremely important when reporting a fire. Please provide:
- your name and phone number so you can be contacted for further information if necessary
- location of the fire by street address or section, township, and range (preferred) or directions and distances from known roads or landmarks
- information on whether any structures or other improvements are threatened
- the approximate size of the fire
- the type of fuels the fire is burning and the type of fuels it is approaching
- the type of terrain and access into the fire
- the time the fire started, as well as who started it, if known
- information on whether anyone is working on the fire.