FAQs: Opening burning in Grand County
November 7, 2016
Q: What is slash pile/open burning?
A: Any time you light a fire outdoors, you are open burning. Slash pile burning is effective and efficient for private landowners to dispose of wood or other vegetative material.
Q: Who regulates open burning in Grand County?
A: Since 2001, Grand County Department of Natural Resources (GCDNR), under authority from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Go to:.
Q: Why are permits needed?
A: Open burning pollutes the air and poses a fire hazard, so the State and County regulate it to protect public health and the environment in our beautiful state. This pollution can cause serious short and long-term health problems, obscure visibility, and create odors impacting not only you but the health of your neighbors. Burning produces many harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, dioxins (a known carcinogen) and others that can irritate the eyes, nose and lungs.
Q: When is burn season?
A: It opens after 3-6” of season-long snow has accumulated (sometime in November) and stays open while there is enough snow on the ground (usually through March).
Q: What is a burn day?
A: Any day of the week with favorable conditions for smoke dispersal. GCDNR makes a daily determination based on forecasts from the National Weather Service. Burning on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day is not allowed.
Q: When do I need a permit?
A: If you are burning piles GREATER than 3’ x 3’ and 2’ in height. You do not need a permit for cooking or “recreational” sized fires less than 3’ x 3’ and 2’ in height. Agricultural burns, defined as “the burning of cover vegetation for the purpose of preparing the soil for crop production, weed control, or maintenance of water conveyance structures related to agricultural operations” do not require a permit. Open burning of wood or yard debris on agricultural land is NOT agricultural burning!
Q: Where do I get a permit?
Burn permits are available from the GCDNR beginning in mid-October: online at. Office hours are Monday through Friday 7am to 3:30pm. The permits are also in a box outside the office at 469 East Topaz in Granby. You may email, mail, fax or drop off your completed application any time.
Q: How much does a burn permit cost?
A: A burn permit is free for piles smaller than 15’ x 15’ x 15’. The cost is $50 for the season if they are larger.
Q: What happens after I submit my application?
A: GCDNR personnel will inspect your piles and notify you once approved. Once issued a burn permit, you can burn your piles any time there is a permissible burn day in your area. You must call 970-887-0745 on each of your desired days to see if it is a burn day. Remember, there should be snow on the ground where you are burning.
Q: What CAN I burn?
A: Slash piles and other vegetation debris are allowed (no stumps). If you live within the limits of any of the towns (excluding Parshall or Tabernash) or an HOA, check with your town hall and covenants to determine if burning is allowed.
Q: What CAN’T I burn?
A: Stumps, material that contains food wastes, plastic, coated or treated wood products, rubber, insulation, tires, car bodies, insulated wire, motor oil, aerosol cans, hazardous or toxic materials, or other materials that will produce substantial amounts of smoke and particulates are prohibited. You may not burn sawdust, slabs, chips, shavings, mill trim, or other wood products derived from wood processing, construction debris or buildings/structures for demolition purposes.
Q: Does slash pile size matter?
A: Yes! GCDNR recommends pile sizes not exceed 15’ x 15’ x 15’ with a height that is at least equal to the width. This allows for good smoke management and for the pile to be easily consumed within a 12-hour period. To take advantage of the typical six-hour burn windows in our area, GCDNR recommends that piles be 10’ in diameter and at least 8’ high.
Q: Why can’t I burn in a burn barrel?
A: Because it is against the law. Burn barrels are defined as incinerators by the Sates Air Quality Control Commission’s Common Provisions Regulation. They do not combust efficiently due to lower air flow and temperatures.
Q: What if I suspect someone is burning illegally?
A: Call the Grand County dispatch non-emergency number at 970-725-3311 to report smoke or an illegal open burn. The Daily Burn List on the GCDNR webpage lists all of the approved and permitted open burners in the County, as well as if it is a “burn day” or not.