Open burning allows residents the opportunity to create defensible space as well as the upkeep of property maintenance to reduce fuels. Open burning is allowed inside of the Truckee Meadows Hydrographic Area 87 (HA87) as long as the property is two acres or greater. Properties outside of HA87 are subject to their local fire jurisdiction including the size of the property, method of burning, and when conditions are safe to burn.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, air pollution levels did not meet federal air quality standards. Local programs were implemented to reduce emissions from sources such as open burning and woodstoves. These programs were successful and improved air pollution, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wanted to make sure that HA87 does not violate the air quality standards again. This is why open burning requirements are more stringent in HA87 than the rest of the county.
In order to burn, residents must file a Burn Permit with TMFPD or other fire jurisdictions and pay attention to the Burn Code. Open burning is only allowed the first seven days of each month, limited by weather conditions, and as long as the Burn Code is Green during the Burn Code Season (November 1 through the end of February).
The disposal of cut and stacked vegetation in an open, outdoor fire can be a significant source of air pollution. Smoke from open burning contains fine particles, harmful gases, and other toxic byproducts that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Exposure to these pollutants has been linked to respiratory and heart problems, asthma, and in some cases, premature death. Those most at risk include children, elderly adults, and people with chronic respiratory problems.
Last modified on 04/01/2021