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Open Burning

Regulations of Open Burning Explained

The Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency, in the interest of public health regulates open burning in Buncombe County. While our primary interest is the protection of our air resources, we urge everyone to be careful with all outdoor fires. To protect these resources, we specify criteria to determine what and when people can legally burn.

The burning of leaves, brush, and yard trimmings is permitted on burning days between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., however the burning of household trash, building materials, asphaltic materials, card board, processed wood, and papers is PROHIBITED at any time. Burning of all material is prohibited where there is public pickup for yard waste. If you are burning within 500 feet of forestlands a North Carolina Forest Service permit may be required.

A permit is no longer required by this Agency for the burning of machine piled brush, that is the result of land clearing. However, all land clearing open burning must comply with the regulations. The piles to be burned must be piled to promote good combustion, therefore no stumps or logs over 12 inches in diameter and no dirt shall be included in the pile. The piles shall be 500 feet from the nearest occupied structure. Exceptions can be made in advance with documentation and approval. Burning must be done on a burning day and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with no material added to the fire after 6:00 p.m. It is preferable to burn early during the approved time so that the burning will be complete prior to evening inversions that inhibit smoke dispersion.


Civil penalties will be assessed for violations.

Fire Training. Chapter 4.1903(b)(11) of the WNCRAQA Code allows open burning for instructing and training of firefighting personnel that does not qualify for coverage under Chapter 4.1903(b)(9) and (10). Burning is permissible only as a fire training exercise with the fire department present during the burning.  Download and send in the form below to provide WNCRAQA with prior notification of open burning for the training of firefighting personnel

Additional information may be obtained at the Agency office or by calling (828) 250-6777. A hotline detailing burning days may be accessed by calling (828) 250-6777 Option #1.

Frequently Asked Questions on Open Burning

You are allowed to burn anywhere that does not receive public trash pick-up. You are not allowed to burn in the Asheville city limits without a special permit from the City Fire Department.

Garbage, household trash, construction materials, treated wood, tires, plastics, cardboard, furniture, paper, shingles, wire, etc.

Only natural occurring vegetation and brush (yard trimmings, leaves, and brush).

YES. Civil penalties can reach up to $25,000. But there are other reasons you should not burn illegal material. Burning household trash can result in increased exposure to toxic chemicals and particulate matter.

You do not need a permit unless it is within 500 feet of a state protected woodland. Then you may need a N.C. Division of Forest Resources' permit.**

** Remember- burn permits issued by the N.C. Division of Forest Resources or any local government do not excuse a person from following these rules.

On a designated open burning day determined daily by the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency. You can find out if it is a burning day by calling (828) 250-6777 Option #1 in Buncombe County for a daily recording, 7 days a week. Unless the N.C. Division of Forest Resources or the Buncombe County Fire Marshall has banned burning or it is an air quality action day (code orange, red, or purple), it is a burning day.

You can burn from 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. on a designated burning day.

** Remember- burn permits issued by the N.C. Division of Forest Resources or any local government do not excuse a person from following these rules.

The WNCRAQA is committed to public health and safety for the residents of Buncombe County. We urge everyone to be careful with any outside fire. For more information concerning open burning, please contact the agency at (828) 250-6777.

Open Burning Forms

Signature Form for Permission to Burn Word PDF
Open Burning Pamphlet Word PDF
Fire Training Approval Form Word PDF