Una Community Fire Department


Every thing you need to know about Open Burning

 News Release: July 1, 2004

Columbia - South Carolina's new regulations on open burning have gone into effect, the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental control reported today.

"These rules are designed to help improve our air quality and to protect the public's health," according to Myra C. Reece, DHEC's chief of the Bureau of Air Quality. "The goal is to reduce smoke and other emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone pollution."

Reece said the revised regulations are part of the state's Early Action compact process to improve air quality. The initiative involves DHEC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state and local governments, industry, environmental groups and others interested in bringing cleaner air sooner to south Carolinians. The EPA earlier this year identified several South Carolina areas that were not meeting new federal ozone pollution standards.

"Additional restrictions on open burning were needed because the smoke from burning pollutes the air and can cause health problems for children and adults," Reece said.

Without exception, under the new open burning regulations it is illegal to burn:


Household garbage and trash




Motor and waste heating oils


Roofing Materials such as shingles and tar


Tires and other rubber products






Household cleaners


Farm Chemicals


Electrical wire


Insulation and duct work

"Homeowners can generally burn yard trimmings if local ordinances allow it and it does not cause a public nuisance," Reece said. "Other allowed burning includes fireplaces, campfires, outdoor barbecues and bonfires for festivals and other occasions."

Reece said construction waste from commercial development may no longer be burned and the burning of wastes associated with residential home construction shall include only clean lumber. No construction waste may be burned during the April 1st through October 30th ground-level ozone season. Consult local government ordinances for other possible restrictions. Anyone with questions whether outdoor burning is allowed should contact their local DHEC Environmental Quality Control District office. A map of the Local EQC district offices can be found at www.scdhec.gov/eqc/envserv/.

"Ground-level ozone is the state's most widespread air quality concern, especially during the summer months," Reece said. "High ground-level ozone days generally occur on hot sunny days when the air is stagnant. Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon compounds react chemically in sunlight. This can create breathing problems especially for children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems and adults who work or exercise outdoors. Ground-level ozone can also cause tree and crop damage."

South Carolina's air quality forecast can be found at DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality Web site at www.scdhec.gov/baq or by calling Donna Culbreath at 803-898-4293. A copy of the regulation may be found at www.scdhec.gov/eqc/baq/pubs/2872cacrev_1.pdf.

Other open burning information can also be obtained from the DHEC Web site, calling the local DHEC Environmental Quality Control District office or by writing DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality, 2600 Bull Street, Columbian, SC 20201.

For further information:

Thom Berry 803-898-3885

E-mail: berrytw@dhec.sc.gov

(Courtesy of the SC DHEC website. URL for this article is http://www.scdhec.gov/news/releases/2004/200407/nr07BurningRules04.htm)


South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control Air Pollution Control Regulations & Standards

Regulation 61-62.2

Prohibition of Open Burning

Open Burning is Prohibited Except as Provided Below:

Section I - Exceptions

A. Open burning of leaves, tree branches or yard trimmings originating on the premises of private residences and burned on those premises.

B. Open burning in connection with the preparation of food for immediate consumption.

C. Campfires and fires used solely for recreational purposes, ceremonial occasions, or human warmth. Fires set for the purpose of human warmth use only clean wood products (woody vegetation, leaves, or wood which is not coated with stain, paint, glue or other coating material, and not treated lumber).

D. Fires purposely set in accordance with Smoke Management Guidelines for Vegetative Debris Burning Operations in South Carolina, administered by the South Carolina Forestry Commission and acceptable to the Department to include the following:

  1. Prescribed burning of forest lands for specific management practices; and

  2. Fires purposely set for agricultural control of diseases, weeds pests, and for other specific agricultural purposes.

  3. Open burning of trees, brush, grass and other vegetable matter for game management purposes.

E. Open burning in areas other than predominantly residential for the purpose of land clearing or right-of-way maintenance. this will be exempt only if the following minimum conditions are followed:

  1. The location of the burning must be sufficient distance but not less than 1000 feet, from public roadways and all residential, commercial, and industrial sites not a part of the contiguous property on which the burning is conducted.

  2. Winds during the time of the burning must be away from any area in which the ambient air may be significantly affected by smoke from the burning if that area contains a public roadway or a residential, commercial, or industrial site.

  3. The material to be burned must have been generated onsite and not moved to the site from another location;

  4. The amount of dirt on the material being burned must be minimized;

  5. No heavy oils, asphaltic materials, items containing natural or synthetic rubber, or any materials other than plant growth may be burned;

  6. The initial burning must be stated only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.; no combustible material may be added to the fire between 3:00 p.m. of one day and 9:00 a.m. the following day;

  7. No more than two piles 30' x 30' or equivalent may be burned within a six-acre area at once time; and

  8. In the case of land clearing, all salvageable timber and pulpwood must be removed.

F. Fires set for the purposes of training fire-fighting personnel and conducted at permanent fire-fighter training facilities. Prior Department approval is required in order to obtain the exemption as a permanently established training site. Fires set for the purpose of fire-fighter training at non-permanent locations must receive Department approval prior to the initiation of any burning activity. Materials used for fire-fighter training cannot contain asbestos, heavy oils, asphaltic material, plastic or rubber without express written consent from the Department.

G. Open burning on the property where it occurs of residential construction waste from building and construction operations will be exempt only if the following conditions are met:

  1. The material being burned is residential construction waste associated with the building and construction of one and two family dwellings only;

  2. The location of the burning is at least five hundred (500) feet from any occupied structure other than a dwelling or structure located on the property on which the burning is conducted;

  3. Heavy oils, treated wood products, asphaltic materials, items containing natural or synthetic rubber. pr any other trade wastes which produce smoke in excess of forty (40) percent opacity are not burned;

  4. The burning does not occur during the ozone season (April 1 through October 30); and

  5. the burning is conducted only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.;

H. Open burning, in remote or specified areas:

  1. For non-recurring unusual circumstances.

  2. For experimental burning for purposes of data gathering and research.

However, prior approval for these types of burning (in subparagraph H above) must be obtained from the Department.

Section II - General

A. A written report or warning to a person of a violation at one site shall be considered adequate notice of the Regulation and subsequent observed violations at the same time or different site will result in appropriate legal action.

B. Open burning may be conducted in certain situations if no undesirable levels are or will be created. The authority to conduct open burning under this Regulation does not exempt or excuse the person responsible for the burning from the consequences of or the damages or injuries resulting from the burning and does not exempt or excuse anyone from complying with other applicable laws and with ordinances, regulations and order of governmental entities having jurisdiction, even though the burning is otherwise compliance with this Regulation.

C. The Department reserves the right to impose other or different restrictions and exemptions on open burning in addition to those enumerated above, whenever in the judgment of the Department such is necessary to realize the purpose of this Regulation.

R. 61-62.2 History - South Carolina State Register:

     Vol. 9, Issue No. 5, (Doc. No. 457), May 24, 1985.    

     Vol. 28, Issue No. 6, (Doc. No. 2872), June 25, 2004.