Open burning permits are required for commercial, residential, and agricultural land clearing purposes. As a courtesy to the public, applications for open burning permits are available at the Health Department and Division of Forestry.
All sites used for commercial and residential land clearing must be approved by the Palm Beach County Health Department, Air Pollution Division. Once the PBCHD approves the burn site, they will issue a Letter of Authorization. This completed letter will be needed in order to obtain your Open Burning Permit from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
The Division of Forestry is responsible for the oversight of prescribed burns for habitat/ecosystem management and burning incidental to other continuous agricultural activities.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue reviews daily weather forecasts and depending on the fire danger, burning may or may not be allowed. When you are issued a burn permit, you will be given instructions on how to find out if you are allowed to burn. If you have any questions, please call us at (561) 616-7023.
Certain fires defined as recreational, ceremonial, religious, cooking, etc. do not require open-burning permits. However, requirements do apply to ensure such fires do not create an undue fire hazard. "Backyard burning" is not permitted in Palm Beach County, therefore recreational fires are not permitted as a means of disposing of yard debris.
Recreational (camp fires, cooking fires, fires for warmth of outdoor workers) and Ceremonial (bon fires, fires for religious purposes) Fires
Recreational fires are campfires, cooking fires, or fires for warmth of outdoor workers that are no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. Ceremonial fires are bonfires and fires for religious purposes that can be larger than Recreational fires.
A person who wishes to have a ceremonial fire may do so provided that they have written a letter of request to the Fire Marshal and have received a letter of approval. The person must then contact their area fire station to verify if burning is permitted on the approved date of the event.
Additional Requirements for Recreational and Ceremonial Fires
- The maximum size of the fire should be dictated by the site, setbacks, extinguishment capabilities, fire department access, and weather conditions at the time of burning.
- May burn only untreated wood, may not burn trash, treated wood or yard debris.
- Must be attended at all times
- Must have a means of extinguishment immediately available
- Must be fully extinguished when not attended
- Recreational fires may not be larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high
- Must not create an undue fire hazard or excessive amounts of smoke
- Fires within 25 feet of a structure or other combustible materials must be in an appropriate container such as a fire bowl, chiminea or other burn container.
Ceremonial fires may be requested to be larger than that permitted for recreational fires. For that reason a site inspection by the Battalion/District Chief or affected Station Officer may be necessary. Additionally, at the discretion of the Battalion/District Chief, a unit may be required to stand-by on the scene during such events.
The Fire Marshal will issue a letter for such events, detailing the requirements for burning to be permitted and requiring the affected station to be notified of the burn.
Recreational or ceremonial fires are not permitted when a county-wide burn ban is issued by Fire Rescue or the Division of Forestry due to dry conditions and/or elevated fire danger.