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Burn Barrels

What is residential waste burning?

Residential waste burning , as defined by Air Resources Board (ARB), is the outdoor burning of waste, other than natural vegetation. In 2004, ARB approved an Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to reduce air emissions which prohibit the burning of household waste. Temporary exemptions have been given to areas that meet specific criteria; population density, location, fire agency support and available waste management services. Areas that have received burn barrel exemption, under the ATCM, are listed in the table below. These exemptions are reassessed every 10 years to ensure they continue to meet requirements.

How can residential waste burning affect your health?

The U.S. EPA has identified residential waste burning as a major source of dioxins. Dioxins are the most potent carcinogens identified to date. In addition to dioxins, many other air contaminants are generated from residential burning, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), benzene, and 1,3-butadiene.

These air contaminants may result in substantial health impacts, ranging from headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, to cancer.

Other air pollutants found in smoke produced from residential waste burning include carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter. Most of this particulate matter is small enough to be inhaled and can be especially harmful to people with existing respiratory illness, youth and elders.

Exposure to such particles may worsen existing disease conditions and can produce symptoms ranging from breathing difficulties to increased respiratory infection and even death.

What is a burn barrel?

Burn barrel is defined as metal container approved for the use of holding approved combustible or flammable waste material so that they can be ignited outdoors for the purpose of disposal. The metal container is covered by a non-flammable screen with holes no larger than ¼ inch.

Burn barrels can be an efficient fire safety tool when properly used to dispose of non-glossy paper, cardboard and vegetation within areas that have received burn barrel exemption.

May contain: examples of four burn burn barrels  with fire and smoke, outdoors


In order to utilize the temporary exemption, an Air Quality Burn Permit must be obtained. The District will determine your exemption eligibility status when your permit is reviewed and issued. Areas that receive temporary exemption can be found in the table below:

Big BarBlocksburgBridgeville
Coffee CreekCovington MillDel Loma
DinsmoreForest GlenGasquet
HyampomJunction CityKettenpom
KorbelMad RiverOrleans
PetroliaPost MountainPlantina
RuthTrinity CenterWildwood