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Open Burning

“Open burning” means the burning of brush on a residential property provided that the open burning is conducted by the resident (or designated agent) of the property and a permit for such burning has been obtained from the local burning official. For the most part, businesses are not allowed to open burn.

As it relates to open burning, “brush” means shrubs, vegetation or pruning less than three inches in diameter at the widest point.

Combustible wood products that are not considered brush include, but are not limited to: construction and demolition waste, or land-clearing debris such as stumps.

Municipal Connection

The chief executive officer of each municipality is responsible for nominating all local burning officials and has the authority to revoke any nomination. All burning official nominations must be certified by the Commissioner of CT D.E.E.P.

The open burning of brush at a municipal landfill, transfer station or municipal recycling center is allowed, provided the requirements outlined in the discussion below are met.

Municipal Responsibility

Except for actions on state-owned property, municipalities have the authority to regulate or ban the open burning of brush for any purpose within their boundaries. If open burning is not banned, the municipal open burning official (OBO) is responsible for issuing open burning permits to residents within such municipality.

Only the OBO can issue open burning permits for the following activities proposed on non-state- owned properties:

1) Fire training exercises;

2) Eradication or control of insect infestations or disease;

3) Agricultural purposes;

4) Clearing vegetative debris following a natural disaster; and

5) Vegetative management or enhancement of wildlife habitat, or ecological sustainability on municipal property, or any privately owned property permanently dedicated as open space.

Open burning laws of the state or municipality may be enforced by any peace officer within that peace officer’s area of jurisdiction. Note that this will not appear in a peace officer’s “ticket book” since it is not an infraction, but a misdemeanor crime, subject to fine and imprisonment. Municipalities may establish other enforcement tools through local ordinances.

Statutory Citation

CGS Section 22a-174(f)


Open burning can pollute the air and make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breathe. Open burning can also create smoke and odor nuisances, as well as health risks to nearby residents, particularly in densely populated areas. Therefore, the CT

D.E.E.P. encourages the use of alternate methods of disposing of brush, such as chipping, grinding, composting and recycling.

The burning of non-processed wood for campfires and bonfires is not prohibited providing such activity is conducted in a manner that is consistent with any local restrictions imposed on such burning and that it does not create a nuisance.

No open burning of brush shall occur:

1) When national or state ambient air quality standards may be exceeded;

2) Where a hazardous health condition might be created;

3) When the forest fire danger in the area is identified by the Commissioner of CT DEP as extreme and where woodland or grass land is within one hundred feet of the proposed burn;

4) Where there is an advisory from the Commissioner of the CT D.E.E.P. of any air pollution episode;

5) Where prohibited by an ordinance of the municipality; and

6) in the case of a municipal landfill, when such landfill is within an area designated as a “hot spot” on the open burning map prepared by the Commissioner.

Municipalities are allowed to conduct open burning of brush at a municipal landfill, transfer station or municipal recycling center, provided a permit for such burning is obtained from the local fire marshal of the municipality where the facility is located. Such permit, along with the approval of the chief executive officer, must be submitted to Commissioner of

CT D.E.E.P. by the fire marshal. A permit for the open burning of brush at a municipal landfill, transfer station or recycling center shall be issued no more than six times during any calendar year. The burning of leaves, demolition waste or other solid waste deposited in such landfill is prohibited.

The burning of wood or other waste materials in a drum or other similar container is prohibited.

Potential CT D.E.E.P. Permits, Registrations and/or Certifications

The Commissioner of CT D.E.E.P. is responsible for:

• certifying the nomination of any local burning official;

• approving or disapproving any OBO’s proposed permitting of burning brush at a municipal landfill, transfer station or municipal recycling center; and,

• authorizing, in writing, fire breaks for the purpose of controlling forest fires, and controlled fires in salt water marshes to forestall uncontrolled fires.

In addition, the Commissioner of CT D.E.E.P. is responsible for authorizing open burning for the following purposes on state-owned properties:

• Fire training exercises;

• Eradication or control of insect infestations or disease;

• Agriculture;

• clearing vegetative debris following a natural disaster; and

• Vegetation management, enhancement of wildlife habitat or ecological sustainability.

Web Page Select “Programs and Services” at the top of the page, then select

“Air” then select the “Open Burning” link on left navigation bar.

Should you have a technical question regarding air permitting, please call the "Engineer of the Day" at (860) 424-4152.

Would you like to file a complaint about odors or an air pollution source?

Please call the Air Complaint Line at (860) 424-3436 or email at 

Do you have another air related question?

Please call (860) 424-4152

Contact Information

logo6Town of Rocky Hill
Fire Dept. Hdqtrs.
3050 Main St.
Rocky Hill, CT

Richard Renstrom, Fire Marshal 
Frank Kelley, Deputy Fire Marshal
PHONE:  860-258-7604

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