Open Air Burning

Forest Fire Protection

The Maryland Forest Service has the responsibility of Forest Fire Protection. The following regulations apply to activities in woodland, and within 200 feet of woodland, or activities adjacent to or within an area where flammable materials, that could ignite and carry fire to woodland, are located. These regulations do not apply inside the limits of incorporated towns or to small recreational fires such as campfires.


Open Air Burning Regulations

A person may not engage in open air burning except under the following conditions:

  1. There is a natural or constructed fire break at least 10 feet wide completely around the material to be burned that is free of flammable materials;
  2. Adequate personnel and equipment are present to prevent the fire from escaping;
  3. At least one responsible person remains at the location of the fire until the last spark is out; and
  4. Burning occurs between the hours of 4 p.m. and 12 midnight, except when the ground is covered with snow the burning may occur at any time so long as all other requirements are met.

In addition to the requirements of this regulation, a person engaged in open air burning shall comply with all other requirements of other state and local jurisdictions.

To obtain a Maryland DNR Forest Service Open Air Burning permit contact your local Forest Service Office.


Burning Ban

Under prolonged or unusual conditions conducive to the easy starting and spread of wildfire, the Director may declare a complete ban on all open air burning in woodland or in areas of flammable material likely to carry fire to woodland, through the state or in any specific area.


Prescribed Fire

Prescribed Burning may be conducted in compliance with the above regulations. A written Prescribed Burn Plan will need to be submitted to the Forest Service for approval. See the below links for policy and forms:



Read the full Forest Fire Protection regulations as written in the Code of Maryland Regulations.

Open air burning brochure
Open air burning brochure - Spanish version