Smoke management permit fees
How to pay
New or occasional permittees
- Option 1: Wait for us to bill you $100 for a permit. Then pay either by check or credit card. Instructions for both will be on the bill.
- Option 2: If you prefer to mail a check up front, please contact us.
Everyone else, including federal land managers
- Your main office for Colorado will receive an annual invoice. Most federal agencies bill the fees back to individual districts or projects.
Two categories of fees
1. Occasional permittees
Cost of permit: $100
Typical applicant: Fire department or large ranch
Portion of permits: 10-20% of permits cost $100 each
Bill timing: About a week after a permit is issued
2. All other permits
Cost of permit: Generally $200 to $1,200; see details below
Typical applicant: District of a land management agency
Portion of permits: Most permits are billed with this fee structure
Bill timing: The summer after the permit year closes
Calculation of fee shares
As required by regulation, Colorado's smoke management program recovers all its operating costs through fees. The larger land management agencies and a few large private ranches pay the bulk of program costs. Fees reflect their proportional activity.
Fees are based on a smoke management customer's activity level. If a customer's three-year average is less than 1 percent of smoke management permit activity statewide, then the customer pays $100 per permit. Otherwise the customer pays the same percent of the smoke management program's remaining costs as its percent of activity.
Activity calculations: Program shares are derived half from the permittee's or agency's proportion of smoke management permits issued for the year and half from its actual contribution to PM-10 generated through prescribed fire. PM-10 is calculated from EPA-provided particulate emissions factors by fuel type multiplied by tons of fuel burned. Tonnage, in turn, is calculated from cubic feet of piles consumed, or from broadcast acres burned multiplied by a standardized weight of fuel consumed by fuel type.
Shares are recalculated every three years based on the previous three years of activity. Shares are recalculated only once every three years, in order to smooth and simplify budgeting for permittees.
A few permits are for projects that cross ownership and/or jurisdictional boundaries. When land managers or owners apply for a permit, they tell the Air Pollution Control Division what portion of the permit's cost each agency will pay.
As legislated, the fee program began in calendar year 2002. The total cost of the program since 2010 has been about $200,000. A 1 percent share after non-share fees are deducted is about $1,900.
The Air Quality Control Commission oversees the fee program through its Regulation 9, "Open Burning, Prescribed Fire and Permitting."