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Open Burning

Bonfires and agricultural burning are illegal in Baltimore County without permits from the Fire Marshal and, in some cases, from local environmental authorities (Chapter 10 of the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code).

Leaf Burning

Leaf burning is prohibited throughout the county; the Department of Public Works collects leaves and other yard materials as part of its regular collection schedule.


Open burning, including recreational bonfires, is prohibited inside the perimeter of the Beltway (I-695).

Outside the Beltway, recreational bonfires require a permit from the local Office of the Fire Marshal. Call 410-887-4880.

Agricultural Burning

Agricultural burning—the burning of agricultural debris such as brush, stumps and limbs not associated with building construction—requires approval by the Environmental Health section of the County's Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS). The material to be burned must have originated on the property where the burning will take place. EPS inspects the site to ensure that it meets the criteria for an agricultural burn and, if those criteria are met, authorizes the Fire Marshal's Office to issue a permit.

The Fire Code requires permit holders to keep the permit at the site of the fire until the burning is complete. The Code also requires a bulldozer with a competent operator at large bonfires; the bulldozer may be used to control the fire by covering it with earth or by some other means, if the need arises.

Fire Pits and Small Cooking Fires

Small, outdoor fires for cooking, such as campfires, broilers, grills and hibachi, are permitted but must be attended. View the Recreational Fire Pits Bulletin (PDF) for more information.

Revised October 16, 2019         


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