Obtaining a burn permit for the open burning of vegetative materials (such as slash piles) is a no cost, three-step process. Complete information may be found here: http://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/service/air-quality/open-burn-application
Open burning may not take place until all steps of the permitting process have been completed.
- Apply for an air quality open burning permit on the El Paso County Public Health website. Note: This permit is for compliance with air pollution laws only and does not constitute approval to conduct open burning.
- El Paso County Public Health will forward the approved air quality open burning permit to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for a review and issuance of a fire safety open burning permit.
- EPSO will then forward the fire safety open burning permit to the responsible fire department for final approval. The responsible fire department must approve the burn permit before it can be issued to the applicant by EPSO.
Applications for open burning permits may be completed online at the El Paso County Public Health website or printed and mailed to the EPCPH offices.
From the El Paso County Public Health website:
Each day that a proposed burn will take place, the permit holder shall notify:
- El Paso County Public Health - for weekend or holiday burns, notification shall be provided on the preceding business day prior to 12:00pm.
- The appropriate fire department or district, as well as the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, prior to ignition and after extinguishing the open burn.
- All adjacent landowners, including those separated by a road or right of way.
Burning shall be restricted to the item(s) and location identified in the permit:
- Only clean, dry wood and/or natural vegetative material(s) with a diameter of not more than 6 inches may be burned.
- The burning of certain wood-bearing items including tree stumps, most construction materials, and pallets is not permitted.
- The burning of any material that is not wood is not permitted.
Other Requirements for Slash Pile Burns:
- Open burning of vegetative materials for disposal must be conducted in an open pile configuration no larger than 8 ft. wide X 8 ft. long X 4 ft. high.
- Keep all open burning (vegetation management) fires at least 50 feet from structures and combustibles such as fences and vegetation.
- Ignition of materials shall occur between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. ("Ignition of materials" includes both starting a fire and adding more material to an existing fire.) All fires must be completely extinguished by no later than sunset.
- In addition to having an approved permit, slash pile burns conducted at elevations above 7,000 feet are required to have three or more inches of snow on the ground around the slash (unless an Air Curtain Destructor is used).
- Burning shall be supervised by one or more responsible persons at all times.
- Precautions shall be taken to localize the burning and in no way constitute a fire hazard to persons or property within or adjacent to the area of burning.
- The granting authority and the employees or agents thereof, in the issuing of a permit, do not assume any responsibility for any actions that result in damage to the person or property of the permit holder or any other person.
- The permit holder is responsible for obtaining any additional permits and/or clearances from any appropriate fire control office, local agency, or other official prior to submission of this permit.
Types of Open Burning Allowed without a Burn Permit:
- Recreational fires such as campfires, non-commercial cooking fires, and residential fire pits.
- Fires must be less than three feet in diameter, and less than two feet high.
- Ceremonial fires.
- Agricultural burns conducted to prepare land for planting of commercial crops.
Types of Open Burning Requiring a County Burn Permit:
- Disposal by fire of untreated natural wood or slash (sticks and branches no greater than four (4) inches in diameter).
- NOTE: Burning of slash piles is not permitted above 7,000 feet elevation unless there is 3" or more of snow on the ground per El Paso County Ordinance 19-001.
- Disposal by fire of dry leaves, grass, weeds, or similar dry natural vegetative materials.
- Broadcast burns of 10 acres or less of grass, or five acres or less of other vegetation. Broadcast burns are a controlled application of fire to wildland fuels in their natural or modified state over a predetermined area. The term does not apply to wildland fuels that have been concentrated in piles by manual or mechanical methods.
Types of Burning Not Allowed:
- Open burning and outdoor fires are prohibited during Red Flag Warnings and when fire restrictions or burn bans are in effect.
- Burning trash is not allowed at any time in El Paso County. Prohibited materials include, but are not limited to:
- Household waste or garbage
- Paper or plastic
- Chemicals, tires, treated wood
- Cut lumber, pallets
- Construction or demolition debris
- Tree stumps
- Burn barrels are prohibited for any type of burning.
- Sky lanterns are not permitted within the Falcon Fire Protection District.