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Open Burning on Residential Property

Residential property is property that is used exclusively for residential purposes, consisting of one to four dwelling units. Burning on property not zoned or classified as residential is prohibited. 

Restrictions, Conditions and Permitting

Prior to burning, the resident, or individual seeking to burn on the residential property where he or she resides, must have a valid, signed permit from the office of the fire marshal. The permit does not relieve the permittee of any legal liability, which may be incurred as a result of the fire.

Open burning is limited to the burning of brush only. Brush is defined as shrubs, vegetation or prunings, the diameter of which is not greater than three inches at the widest point. Leaves and grass are not considered brush. Open burning is not allowed for the purpose of clearing land, or for the disposal of construction debris, household trash, or leaves.

Open Burning Restrictions

Residents looking to burn must have a valid and signed permit from the Guilford office of the Fire Marshal/Open Burning Official. Permits are now available online by clicking the link above. 

Open burning is not allowed:

  • to clear land prior to construction activities

  • as a means to dispose of construction debris, household trash, or leaves.

  • if the Air Quality Index (AQI) is forecasted to be 75 or higher anywhere in the state

  • if the Forest Fire Danger Index is rated High, Very High, or Extreme

  • if national or state ambient air quality standards may be exceeded

  • if a hazardous health condition might be created

  • if there is an advisory from DEEP of any air pollution episode

  • where prohibited by an ordinance of the municipality

  • if directed by any member of the town Fire Marshal's office, Officer of the Fire Department, designated Municipal Official responsible for enforcing the open burning laws and ordinances, or any official of the Health Department or DEEP


Before the Burn

  • All reasonable safety precautions are to be taken including but not limited to:

  • clearing of grass and trees from the burning area

  • wetting down of the surrounding area

  • placement of fire extinguishers and hose lines

After the Burn

  • all reasonable measures to assure complete combustion and

      reduce excessive smoke are to be taken

  • at no time during the burn should the fire be left unattended

  • the permit must be available on site during the burn

  • burning may not create a nuisance to nearby properties

  • burning may only be conducted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a

      sunny or partly sunny day with the wind speed between 5 and 15 miles per hour

Completion of the Burn Period

  • the burn pile must be completely extinguished by 5 p.m.

  • all embers and coals must be extinguished and wetted, so as to prevent smoldering and fugitive ash emissions

  • Failure to adhere to the conditions of the permit may result in penalties and/or enforcement actions. There may be additional requirements or special conditions applied to your open burning permit by the local Open Burning Official.

Do you have a complaint regarding open burning on residential property?


  • Smoke, nuisance odors, or other complaints regarding open burning on a residential piece of property are best directed to the office of the fire marshal/open burning official. Contact 203-453-8056 for more information or to make a complaint.

  • Issues or concerns relating to the health effects created or experienced during open burning should be directed to the local Open Burning Official as well as the Guilford Health Department. Guilford DIrector of Health Sonia Marino 203-453-8118.

  • In the case of an emergency please call 911 .

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