When any individual or business notifies the Schuylkill County 911 Communications Center of plans to conduct a “Controlled Burn”, the notification of the county department and the acceptance of the information by a county employee, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMISSION TO CONDUCT THE CONTROLLED BURN. The information is used to minimize the unnecessary dispatch of fire stations.
If fire stations are dispatched to calls that are actually controlled burns, it waste the time of volunteers and puts them in danger during the response, from the time they leave their home or place of work until the time they return. Please continue to call 570-628-3792 each time you are conducting a controlled burn.
The information below is taken from information provided by two Pennsylvania departments which have jurisdiction over open burning.
“Open burning” is defined as the ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material (garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter involved with land clearing, or any sort of debris) out-of-doors either in a burn barrel or on the ground.
Local municipalities can be more stringent than Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations, even to the point of prohibiting the burning of all waste. Check with your municipality for local ordinances.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is permitted to charge the responsible party for the actual cost of extinguishment of a wildfire that is the result of open burning. That cost may be thousands of dollars.
Pennsylvania law allows open burning of “domestic refuse” as long as the fire is on the property of a structure occupied solely as a residence by two families or less and when the refuse results from the normal occupancy of the structure. “Domestic Refuse” does not include such items as demolition waste, insulation, shingles, treated wood, paint, painted or stained objects or furniture, tires, mattresses, box springs, metal, insulating coating on wire, television sets and appliances, automobiles, automotive parts, batteries, PVC products, waste oil and other petroleum products.
The burning should not cause a nuisance in the neighborhood.
Demolition waste or buildings prior to demolition should not be burned. If you are having work completed at your home or business, all demolition waste and scrap material must be properly disposed of at a state approved landfill. The cost of that disposal is reflected in the price you pay for the construction service.
Trees, limbs, branches and stumps may be burned on a property only if they were generated on the property where the burning is to take place. The burning should also not cause a nuisance in the neighborhood.
See the DEP Fact Sheet on residential burning by following the link below.
Businesses are not allowed or authorized to burn business-related or commercial generated waste for disposal purposes. Pennsylvania DEP may issue special permits to a business for the disposal of specific types of waste. Contact PA DEP for additional information.
Farm operations may burn agricultural commodities in their un-manufactured state on the farm premises. So, a cut off corn field – YES. Poly or paper bags that once held feed or fertilizer – NO
Many persons will burn once the sun goes down to lessen the the chance that visible smoke will be seen by others. If you see black smoke or smell noxious odors – there may be illegal burning that could be a danger to everyone’s health. Please note the time and approximate location, then report it to PA DEP for investigation.
Open Burning Complaints
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Northeast Regional Office
1-866-255-5158 extension 2
Links and Fact Sheets