Open Burn Ban In Effect In Frederick County

All outdoors fires are prohibited through Aug. 31st.

The annual open burning ban is in effect in Frederick County through August 31st. The Health Department says the prohibition is mandated by Maryland Air Quality regulations to help curb high ozone levels in the region during the summer. “So during June, July and August, we have no burning because when we do the burning, we’re releasing more pollutants,” says Alicia Evangelista, Program Manager, Frederick County Environmental Health Community Services Office. “If we don’t burn in the summer, we’re not releasing those pollutants and helping the air quality.”

She says this ban does not apply to small recreational fires, such as campfires, barbecues and gas grills. “Sometimes, we do have a complete burn ban which means no burning for campfires and recreational fires,” says Evangelista. “But the burn ban itself that goes on June 1st is designed for outdoor burning of brush.”

The burning ban begins on June 1st.

A complete burn ban would be implemented if the humidity was too low or too high, or strong winds.

For those who can’t wait until fall to burn brush on their property, Evangelista says residents can have it composted. “You can take it out to the landfill. There’s the Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville. Those are options for the summertime, and year round. But that’s what you would be limited to in the summertime,” she says.

For the most part, Evangelista says Frederick County residents comply with the burn ban during the summer. “Generally, we do when we get a complaint, or find out there’s an illegal open burning, we generally try to talk to the person doing that burning,” she says. “If it’s just lack of knowledge, we educate them. They put their fire out. We go on. They abide. We don’t have problems with those folks in the future.”

But there penalties for violators. “If we have somebody whose actually violating it, and knows that they’re non-compliant, at that point they could stand to get a maximum of getting a notice of a violation sent down to MDE {Maryland Department of the Environment} , which carries up to a $25,000 fine,”  says Evangelista.

During the months when the burn ban expires, residents who want to burn brush in their property must obtain a permit from the Frederick County Health Department.

The agency says burning household trash is not allowed any time of the year.

For more information on the burn ban, you can call the Frederick County Health Department’s Community Services at 301-600-1717.