Open Burning

Indiana rules generally prohibit open burning. Open burning is the combustion of any matter in the open or in an open dump. This includes fire rings, fire pits, burn barrels, etc. Read through the full Open Burning Regulations.

Harmful Burning

Through various studies, we have learned just how bad smoke can be for your health and the health of the environment due to harmful or toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere in the smoke from fires.

The smoke from burning trash, tires, plastic and other man-made items is especially toxic. Even burning clean wood and yard waste (especially leaves and green vegetation) creates large volumes of smoke that can be harmful to health, the community’s safety and the environment.

Breathing in smoke is never good for you. Smoke from burning household trash may contain dioxins, arsenic, mercury, chromium, PCBs, lead and other dangerous chemicals.

Burning Alternatives

Safe alternatives to burning debris include:
  • Recycling household trash and appliances: Take recyclable plastic, aluminum, tin, glass, paper and old appliances to your local recycler or community reuse center.
  • Proper disposal of construction debris: Except for clean wood scraps, construction debris should never be burned. Many construction materials release harmful chemicals when burned such as asbestos, heavy metals and dioxins. Never burn:
    • Asphalt shingles
    • Glued or treated wood
    • Gypsum board (drywall)
    • Insulation or vinyl siding
    • Painted

Open Burning Rules & Regulations

Below are some of the key rules and regulations for open burning within the Town of Zionsville and the State of Indiana as set forth in IAC 326 Article 4 and the Town of Zionsville Code of Ordinances, Chapter 94, Section 94.01-94.9.

  • All fires shall be attended at all times during burning until completely extinguished.
  • All fires shall be extinguished if they create a hazard, nuisance, pollution problem or threat to public health or property.
  • No open burning shall be conducted during unfavorable meteorological conditions such as high winds, temperature inversions or air stagnation.
  • No open burning shall be conducted within 100-feet of a structure or a power line, or within 300-feet of a frequently traveled road, or within 500-feet of a fuel storage area or pipeline.
  • Open burning on a single-unit residential property, only during daylight hours and extinguished prior to sunset. Burning shall be permitted only in a non-combustible container that is sufficiently vented to induce adequate primary combustion, has enclosed sides, a bottom and a mesh covering with openings no larger than 0.25 square inches.
  • Only clean wood and paper products may be burned; leaves, grass, garbage or other miscellaneous items are prohibited.
  • There shall be adequate means available to extinguish the fire at any time.
  • The Fire Marshal shall be notified at 317-873-5358 at least 24-hours prior to any open burning where a recreational fire is more than 125-cubic feet in size. The fire shall be less than 1,000-cubic feet and only 1 pile may be burned at a time.
  • Recreational fires shall not be ignited more than 2-hours before the recreational activity and shall be extinguished upon conclusion of the activity.
  • Intentional deviation from these items will result in possible legal action and fines which will be no less than $20 and not greater than $2,500 per occurrence

More Information

Any deviation from these regulations requires a variance and permit from the State of Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). A copy of this variance and permit can be filed with the Fire Marshal prior to burning. To contact IDEM, call 317-233-0178 or visit the website. For a complete listing of permitted open burns for recreational or ceremonial fires, barbecues or maintenance burns, click here.

Open Burning Graphic