Official Government Website

Public reminded to refrain from nonessential open burning

November 29, 2021

BOISE—The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) remind the public to refrain from nonessential residential open burning activities as Idaho continues to make progress to rebound from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 affects the respiratory system (nose, throat, and lungs) and gastrointestinal system. It can cause asthma attacks and can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress. People with asthma are recommended to avoid asthma triggers such as smoke from burning wood or other vegetation.

To avoid additional health impacts, the public should take standard preventative measures to protect their health from smoke exposure and refrain from residential open burning (tree limbs, leaves, yard trimmings, garden waste, burn barrels and fire pits) and other nonessential open burning activities. If open burning is essential, please follow best smoke management practices.

Smoke from open burning can cause unnecessary public health and safety concerns:

  • Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19.
  • Smoke exposure impacts can lead to unnecessary testing or self-isolation.

Local ordinances may already prohibit open burning in your area. Prior to burning, contact your local fire agency and visit https://www2.deq.idaho.gov/air/AQIPublic/Map/OutdoorBurn to verify open burning is allowed.

DEQ, IDL, and DHW encourage the public to use alternative burning options:

  • Composting—Compost yard waste to recycle organic material and add nutrients back into the soil.
  • Chipping—Add chipped brush, pruning, or wood waste to your compost pile or soil to increase nutrient content.
  • Curbside pickup—Collect and separate yard waste, organic material, and recyclables and set out for curbside collection. Check with your local government or waste management company for local services.
  • Landfills—Many landfills offer free or reduced fees for yard waste.

Media Contact

Mark Boyle DEQ (208) 666–4607 mark.boyle@deq.idaho.gov
Sharla Arledge IDL (208) 334–0286 pio@idl.idaho.gov
Niki Forbing-Orr IDHW (208) 334-0668 Niki.Forbing-Orr@dhw.idaho.gov

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