Be vigilant when open burning and follow these safety tips to protect your and others’ health and safety and to prevent wildfires and pollution:
- Be mindful of your neighbors and surroundings to ensure the burning is not impacting others.
- Use electric (windproof) lighters, charcoal chimneys, or newspapers for ignition instead of charcoal lighter fluid to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released.
- Never use gasoline to start or fuel a fire. Gasoline is highly volatile and can explode and spread flames quickly upon lighting, which can cause serious or fatal injuries to people and animals and damage property.
- Never burn recently cut green wood that still has internal moisture or damp wood. Moisture interferes with combustion, and burning green or damp wood will produce more smoke and less flames.
- Always make sure fires are completely extinguished before leaving the area. Drown all embers, charcoal briquettes, and ash with water. Turn them over with a shovel and drown again, and repeat the process until embers and ashes are completely cold. Use dirt or sand to stir into and cool ashes, if water is not available.
- Never put hot coals or ash from an extinguished fire into a trash can where the embers could ignite the trash, causing uncontrolled flames, serious injury, and/or property damage.
- Make sure children, pets, and livestock are supervised at all times when they’re near a fire.
Always verify state and local requirements for your area before beginning any open burning activities. Never burn trash. If you have questions or need technical or compliance assistance, please contact IDEM.