Open Burning that Requires IDEM's Prior Approval

Indiana’s open burning rules require IDEM’s prior approval for certain activities including:

  • Live Fire Training
  • Emergency Burning for Disasters and Public Safety:
    • IDEM approval is required before local officials and personnel involved in managing disaster debris may begin open burning clean wood waste, vegetation, or animal remains after floods, high winds, tornadoes, or other natural disasters. IDEM can give approval over the phone.
    • Specific instructions are in IDEM’s Emergency Burning for Disasters and Emergency Debris Management fact sheets (available on the IDEM Fact Sheets page under Office of Land Quality, Remediation and Response).
  • Land Clearing for Development and Change in Land Use:
    • IDEM approval is required before burning tree waste from clearing operations due to a change in land use. Examples include, but are not limited to, clearing for a housing development, private roadways, or industrial development or expansion. Responsible parties must submit State Form 49635, Identification of Potentially Affected Persons, and, if applicable, State Form 43688, Request for Use of an Air Curtain Open Pit Destructor (available on the IDEM Forms page) to IDEM for prior approval.
  • Prescribed Burning for Natural Land Management:
    • A prescribed burn is the planned and deliberate application of fire to the land in order to maintain a diverse habitat in Indiana’s natural areas. The benefits include:
      • Controlling and eradicating invasive, exotic, and non-native plant species
      • Replenishing and recycling soil nutrients
      • Increasing seed production and germination
      • Removing excessive leaf litter accumulation
    • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) site explains the importance of prescribed burns at Indiana state parks.
    • IDEM approval is required before prescribed burns, unless the burning is being conducted on properties owned by IDNR, municipal or county governments, the U.S. Department of the Interior (e.g., Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or the U.S. Forest Service. Responsible parties must submit State Form 49635, Identification of Potentially Affected Persons, and the applicable state form(s) (available on the IDEM Forms page) to IDEM for prior approval:
      • Request for Approval Under 326 IAC 4-1 for Prescribed Vegetation Burn - 50864
      • Request for Variance from 326 IAC 4-1 (Tree Waste or Clean Wood Waste) - 43692

Complete rules for open burning approval criteria and conditions are found at 326 IAC 4-1-4.1. If you have questions or need technical or compliance assistance, please contact IDEM.