Delaware Public Media

Open burning prohibited in Delaware during ozone season

May 7, 2019

As the weather gets warmer, more Delawareans spend time outdoors - cooking, camping, barbequing and clearing winter debris from their yards. But some open burning is now prohibited in the First State.


Delaware's ozone season open burning ban went into effect May 1 and lasts through September 30.


“It’s a prohibition against excessive burning - burning that is usually reserved for farmers or training fire companies or for prescribed burns,” said Gerald Mood - an environmental scientist with DNREC’s Division of Air Quality. “Recreational fires are allowed, camp fires, cooking fires, ceremonial fires - up to 27-cubic-feet and that’s usually a pile that’s 3-feet by 3-feet by 3-feet. You can burn brush and sticks and branches and wood, but no leaves, no grass and no trash.

He says there’s a reason an ozone season open burn ban is needed this time of  year.


"Warm weather creates conditions that are conducive for certain pollutants to be created, such as ozone - ground level ozone, that isn’t necessarily created during cooler months,” said Mood.

Mood says all open burning - including activity previously approved - is prohibited on Air Quality Action days.  That’s when Delaware’s air quality is forecast as unhealthy by the Regional Air Quality Partnership.

Days with unhealthy air quality are designated Code Orange or Code Red, based on the severity of the warning.


Fines for violating the open burn ban range from $100 to $500.


You can read more about the burn ban here.