ORD 19-08

Article 3 - Public Burning/Open Burning Regulations (Revised)



The purpose of this Article is to control the open burning of refuse and other combustible materials.

A.  Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this Subchapter, shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

1. "Combustible materials" means any substance which will readily burn and shall include those substances which, although generally considered incombustible, are or may be included in the mass of the material burned or to be burned.

2. "Domestic refuse" means combustible materials or refuse that normally result from the function of life at a residence, such as kitchen garbage, untreated lumber, cardboard boxes, packaging, clothing, grass, leaves, and branch trimmings. It does not include such things as tires, non-wood construction debris, furniture, carpet, electrical wire, and appliances.

3. “Fire Training” means a fire purposely set as part of an organized program of drills for the training of firefighting personnel or for testing firefighting materials or equipment, which is part of a recognized training program.

4. “Human-made structure” means any structure constructed with the intent of providing shelter to persons or property. It does not include structures constructed specifically for live-burn fire training purposes.

5. "Land clearing operation" means the uprooting, cutting, or clearing of vegetation in preparation for the construction of buildings, the development of residential, commercial, agricultural, or industrial properties, and for the construction and maintenance of right-of-ways. It does not include the clearing of vegetation such as trimmings, fallen limbs, branches, or leaves, or other wastes from routine property maintenance activities.

6. "Open burning" means the burning of combustible materials in such a manner that the products of combustion are emitted directly to the outside atmosphere.

7. "Open-pit incinerator" means a device consisting of a pit (into which the material to be combusted is placed) and nozzles, pipes, and other appurtenances designed and arranged in a manner to deliver additional air and/or auxiliary fuel to, or near, the zone of combustion so that theoretically complete combustion is accomplished or approached.

8. "Products of combustion" means all particulate and gaseous air contaminants emitted as a result of the burning of refuse and combustible materials.

9. "Refuse" means garbage, rubbish, domestic refuse and all other wastes generated by a trade, business, industry, building operation, or household.

10. “Yard Brush” means cut or broken branches, leaves, limbs, shrubbery, or tree trimmings. It does not include refuse, grass clippings, in-ground tree stumps, or any nonvegitative material.

Reference OAC 252:100-13-2

B. Open burning prohibited

The open burning of refuse and combustible materials is prohibited unless conducted in strict accordance with the conditions and requirements contained in Sec. 9-15-C and Sec. 9-15-D. Under no circumstances shall the open burning of tires be allowed.

Reference OAC 252:100-13-5

C. Allowed open burning

When not prohibited by state law or ordinance, the following types of burning are allowed, provided the conditions and requirements in Sec. 9-15-D.

1. Fire training. Open burning is allowed for fires purposely set for the instruction and training of public and industrial fire-fighting personnel, provided that authorization has been requested from the local fire chief at least ten working days prior to any burning or that written authorization has been received prior to such burning. The DEQ may require written verification of the authorization from the local fire chief or fire training officer.

2. Elimination of hazards. Provided prior authorization is obtained from the local fire chief, open burning is allowed for the elimination of:

a. A fire hazard that cannot be abated by any other means.

b. A dangerous or hazardous material when there is no other practical or lawful method of abatement or disposal if authorization is also received from the DEQ prior to such burning.

3. Recreational and ceremonial fires. Open burning is allowed for camp fires and other fires used solely for recreational purposes, ceremonial occasions, or non-commercial preparation of food.

4. Land management and land clearing operations. Open burning is allowed for the following land management and land clearing operations.

a. Fires purposely set to forest, crop or range lands for a specific reason in the management of forests, crops or game, in accordance with practices recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture, and the United States Forest Service.

b. Fires purposely set for land clearing operations if conducted at least 500 feet upwind of any occupied residence other than those located on the property on which the burning is conducted, except that such burning must be conducted in open-pit incinerators in counties or areas that are or have been designated nonattainment.

5. Burning of domestic refuse. Where no collection and disposal service is reasonably available, domestic refuse may be burned on the property where the waste is generated.

6. Hydrocarbon burning. Open burning of hydrocarbons is allowed for:

a. The disposal of spilled hydrocarbons or the waste products of oil exploration, development, refining or processing operations which cannot be feasibly recovered or otherwise disposed of in a legal manner. Notice must be given to the DEQ prior to such burning.

b. The disposal of waste hydrocarbons through a flare. The owner or operator shall be required to use a smokeless flare if a condition of air pollution is determined to exist by the DEQ.

7. Open-pit incinerator. Except for hazardous material, any combustible material or refuse that is allowed to be burned under this Subchapter may be burned in an open-pit incinerator that is properly designed and operated for the control of smoke and particulate matter. The owner or operator of the open-pit incinerator shall not accept any material owned by other persons and shall not transport any material to the property where the open-pit incinerator is located in order to burn the material.

8. Yard Brush. Yard brush may be burned on the property where it is generated.

Reference OAC 252:100-13-7

D. General conditions and requirements for allowed open burning

The open burning of refuse and other combustible material may be conducted as allowed in this Subchapter only if the following conditions and requirements are met:

1. No public nuisance is or will be created.

2. The burning is controlled so that a traffic hazard is not created as a result of the air contaminants being emitted.

3. The burning is conducted so that the contaminants do not adversely affect the ambient air quality of a city or town.

4. The initial burning shall begin only between three hours after sunrise and three hours before sunset and additional fuel shall not be intentionally added to the fire at times outside these limits. This requirement does not apply to the open burning allowed under Sec. 9-15-C (1), (2), (3), and (4)(a).

Reference OAC 252:100-13-9

E. Disaster relief

Notwithstanding the prohibition in Sec. 9-15-B, the Executive Director of the DEQ may allow the open burning of debris resulting from a disaster if the Director determines such burning is necessary to protect public health and safety. Such approval, if granted, shall be accompanied by appropriate guidelines for burning the debris.

Reference OAC 252:100-13-10

F. Open burning for fire training

1. For purposes of this section, “open burning” means the burning of combustible materials in such a manner that the products of combustion are emitted directly to the outside atmosphere.

2. A municipal fire department may engage in controlled open burning of a structure for purposes of fire training if the records of the department document the purpose of the open burn and the following conditions are met:

 a. The municipal fire chief or designee shall provide notification of the planned open burn to the Department of Environmental Quality at least ten (10) days prior to the burning. The notification shall be on a form developed by the Department, document that the provisions of this section are satisfied and be signed by the municipal fire chief;

 b. For any human-made structure, the entire structure, including, but not limited to, insulation, roofing, flooring, painted surfaces and plumbing, shall be examined for the presence of asphalt, asbestos and lead-containing materials. All asphalt, asbestos and lead-containing materials shall be removed from the structure prior to the fire training. Asbestos inspection and removal shall be conducted according to the requirements of federal law;

 c. Any human-made structure demolished pursuant to the provisions of this act shall not be demolished prior to the fire training. Demolition shall not include structural deterioration due to natural causes;

 d. Prior to conducting any fire training involving a human-made structure located within three hundred (300) feet of another human-made structure, the municipality shall notify in writing the owners of the property located within three hundred (300) feet within ten (10) days prior to a meeting of the governing body of the municipality to provide an opportunity for public comment; and

 e. Following the completion of fire training, all debris resulting from the training must be disposed of in the appropriate manner.

3. The Board of Environmental Quality shall have the authority to promulgate rules as may be necessary to implement the purposes of this section.

Universal Citation: 27A OK Stat § 27A-2-5-106.1 (2014)

Added by Laws 2003, c. 238, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2003.

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