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Do I Need a Permit?



If you think you may need a Colorado prescribed fire smoke permit and have never applied for one, contact us.  Procedures can get complex.



Most open fires in Colorado needs a smoke permit.  Permits are designed to protect air quality for health (including National Ambient Air Quality Standards), visibility and other public aspects of welfare.



                   Do I need a smoke permit?


   Graphics version:


1. Is the burn for production agriculture? yes No smoke permit is needed.
no Go to question 2.
not sure Read the long text version.
2. Is the burn for grassland or forest management, including vegetative, habitat or fuel management AND includes only clean, unprocessed wildland fuels? yes Go to question 3.
no Read about open burn smoke permits.
not sure Read the long text version, or contact us.
3. Is the project small enough for general open burning?

        Piles: <50 piles and cold by sunset


        Broadcast: <10 acres of grass or <5 acres of any other fuel type

yes Read about open burn smoke permits.
no Get a prescribed fire smoke permit
not sure Contact us.



In Colorado the purpose and size of a burn determine whether and what kind of smoke permit is needed. Colorado Air Quality Control Commission's Regulation 9 lists the activities that are exempt.

  • Burns for purposes other than agriculture or forest management, such as disposal of trees cleared for development or road construction or requests to burn lumber, need an open burn smoke permit. Open burning involves a different kind of smoke permit than prescribed fire permits.


  • Forest management burns that are very small are covered under general open burn permits. Larger burns for forest or grassland management need a prescribed fire permit.



  • If you wish to burn household trash or animal parts or carcasses, or want to cook on an open fire, read 'special situations.'


  • Training burns are not exempt from prescribed fire smoke permits. However, if a training burn involves structures or is small enough it qualifies for an open burn smoke permit.


*Note: None of these notes about air quality and smoke permits addresses fire control.  Many counties and fire protection districts require that individuals, businesses, and sometimes agencies who burn obtain a fire control permit.  A fire control permit is separate from and in addition to an air quality smoke permit.  For information about fire control permits, contact your local fire department.