Conservation Conversations: Open burning

Grand County Natural Resources
Slash pile burn season is now open in Grand County and individuals must obtain a permit from the county.
Courtesy Grand County Natural Resources

Grand County Natural Resources has opened the burn season for 2021-22. A Grand County burn permit must be obtained for any pile exceeding campfire size (3 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet) before any private individual or business can burn.

There is a $20 fee for private individuals burning on their own property and $100 fee for commercial permits where material is hauled in from other areas to be burned, excluding air curtain burners.

The burn season opens when there is sufficient, season-long snow on the ground and generally runs until April 1, depending on snowpack. Grand County Natural Resources has operated the burn permit/burn season since 2001, obtaining a Delegation of Authority from the State Department of Public Health and Environment to administer the air quality program for them in Grand County.

Our program only applies to slash piles on private property, not for demolition or any other material. State and federal agencies obtain burn permits from the State of Colorado. Burn permits help track and manage the smoke from pile burning throughout the county, allowing burning only during appropriate air quality conditions and limiting the amount of burning that can occur on any given day.

To obtain a permit for burning on private land or to obtain more information regarding open burning please contact our office at 970-887-0745 or visit the Grand County government web site at to download the permit application.

Every slash pile burned now removes fuel for future wildfires. Fire management specialists make great efforts to reduce smoke impacts; however, some smoke is unavoidable. It is important to remember that while pile burning does impact air quality in the short term, it helps reduce the hazard of long-term impacts from larger, more intense wildfires.

If you would like to be on the Grand County smoke notification list, please contact Amy Sidener or Dick Broady at Grand County Natural Resources at 970-887-0745 or email You can also see who is burning and where on a daily basis in Grand County by going to the county website at and clicking on the “Daily burn list.”

Materials for which burning is never Allowed

Per state regulations, certain materials are never allowed to be burned unless permitted by the state on a case-by-case basis.

• Burning of food waste, plastic, coated or treated wood products, rubber, insulation, tires, car bodies, insulated wire, motor oil, aerosol cans, hazardous or toxic materials, or other materials that will produce substantial amounts of smoke and particulates.

• Burning of wood residue, which includes bark, sawdust, slabs, chips, shavings, mill trim, and other wood products derived from wood processing.

• Burning of construction debris, including both clean and treated wood.

• Burning of buildings or structures for demolition purposes.

• Burning of material for which a practical alternative method of disposal exists.

• It is against the law to burn in a burn barrel because burn barrels are considered incinerators that require permits and are subject to federal and state regulations.

Alternatives to open burning

• Reduce – Buy items that have less packaging

• Reuse – Use non-disposable, reusable items; donate unwanted items to charity; repurpose items when possible, use chipped yard wasted material as mulch.

• Recycle – Take advantage of local recycling opportunities.

• Compost – Compost yard debris and kitchen scraps into mulch and fertilizer

• Disposal at a landfill – Grand County has two transfer stations in the Granby area (The Trash Company and Ranch Creek Waste).

Material for this article came from Middle Park Conservation District’s “High Country Rural Living & Land Management” guide. This 64-page educational guide discusses all sorts of conservation topics for living in Grand County, CO. Explore the guide at

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