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Summary Of Regulations For Open Burning

Several DNR programs regulate open burning for the purposes of air quality maintenance, proper management of solid wastes and wildfire prevention. Below is a brief summary of the DNR programs that regulate open burning and a list of relevant open burning laws and regulations.

To learn more about regulations affecting the open burning of specific materials, visit Know before you burn or use the "Can I burn" tool.

DNR Programs

Air Management

The DNR's air quality rules generally prohibit open burning, but list several specific exceptions in ch. NR 429.04, Wis. Adm. Code. Any open burning that is allowed must be done under favorable wind and weather conditions, and conform to local ordinances and state fire protection regulations.

Waste & Materials Management

Commercial, industrial and municipal facilities are prohibited by the 1990 Recycling Act from landfilling or burning yard wastes without energy recovery, or burning many recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard. However, solid waste management rules allow the burning of certain woody material at specially licensed woodburning facilities that meet criteria in s. NR 502.11, Wis. Adm. Code. This same section of code (Section 502.11) also provides for open burning under specific circumstances without a woodburning facility license.


The DNR's burning permit rules apply to open burning in certain areas of the state where DNR has fire protection responsibility. Chapter NR 30, Wis. Adm. Code, identifies the "intensive" and "extensive" fire control areas that require permits before open burning can occur.

Laws and Regulations

Open Burning Laws and Regulations

Following is a list of some relevant open burning statutes, administrative codes and rules.

To search for specific codes or statutes, visit Wisconsin Administrative Codes [exit DNR] and Wisconsin State Statutes [exit DNR].

Wisconsin State Statutes

Wisconsin Administrative Codes

Model Ordinance

Model Ordinance

The DNR developed the following model ordinance to help Wisconsin counties, cities, villages and towns adopt their own local regulations on outdoor burning and burning of refuse.