The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds residents that open burning of materials such as tree limbs, brush and branches is allowed only until Saturday, May 1, when the state’s annual open burning ban takes effect through Thursday, Sept. 30.
DNREC further reminds the public that it is against the law at all times to burn materials considered toxic or hazardous.
“We want to reinforce the environmental message that while residential open burning is allowed until the end of April, there are constraints on what can be burned, how much can be burned at a time, and at what time of day these materials can be burned,” said Patrick Emory, DNREC Division of Community Affairs director.
Residential open burning is allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30 for up to 27 cubic feet of cut or fallen limbs, dead branches or shrubbery from one’s residence. Only up to this amount of yard waste may be burned at one time, and it must be burned between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Burning trash or garbage, construction and other debris, old tires, grass clippings and leaves is illegal at all times in Delaware.
The annual open burning ban – May 1 through Sept. 30, and also known as the ozone season – prohibits all outdoors burning with the exception of cooking fires, recreational campfires and ceremonial bonfires using firewood. These fires are permitted year-round. Citations issued by DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit for all other open burning during this time are punishable by fines of $500 to $1,500, plus court costs.
DNREC also offers the following open burning tips:
• Pile materials you plan to burn as far as practical from all homes and other structures, including your neighbors’
• Be considerate of those around you in choosing when and where to burn
• Keep a garden hose or full water buckets ready in case you need to reduce or put out the fire
• Monitor your fire until it is completely extinguished
• Consider using one of Delaware’s yard waste sites as an alternative to residential open burning. Further information may be found at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/waste-hazardous/yard-waste/drop-off-sites.
For more information, go to dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov.