Protecting Public Health and the Environment.


Because it emits pollution directly into the air and the environment and is a public health and environmental concern, burning is a regulated activity in Idaho. Burning may be restricted or prohibited by federal, tribal, state, or local government laws, regulations, rules, and ordinances.

Open outdoor burning is any burning outdoors that does not pass through a stack, duct, or chimney. This includes outdoor residential, crop residue, and prescribed burning. Open burning also applies to material that is burned in burn barrels, air curtain destructors, or other such devices. 

Health Impacts of Smoke

Smoke from burning contains small airborne particles that can become lodged in our lungs, making breathing difficult and leading to more serious short-term and chronic health problems for certain sensitive populations such as small children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with asthma or other respiratory ailments.

Sensitivity to smoke depends on the level and duration of exposure, age, individual susceptibility, including the presence or absence of lung and heart disease, and other factors. Most healthy individuals recover quickly from smoke exposure.

Common household trash such as plastics, metals, junk mail, cardboard, newsprint, magazines, and some types of packaging release toxic pollutants when burned. Some of these pollutants—certain dioxin, furan, and other chlorine-containing compounds—can cause cancer, birth defects, and eye and skin irritation. Members of households who use burn barrels are typically at the highest risk for exposure to these toxic compounds in the smoke.

Burn Restrictions and Bans

The Rules for Control of Air Pollution in Idaho (IDAPA–623) outline the types of allowable, restricted, and prohibited open burning in the state. (Local ordinances may further restrict or prohibit open burning.) The state rules also spell out the procedures for issuing burn bans restricting outdoor burning and the use of wood stoves and fireplaces when an area's air quality is degraded and human health may be adversely impacted. Learn more.

Crop Residue Burning

The crop residue burning (CRB) program is designed to enable growers to burn under certain conditions while protecting public health from smoke impacts. The program is managed by DEQ on lands other than the five Indian reservations in Idaho. Learn more.

Residential Burning

Residential backyard or outdoor burning is a form of open burning and includes fires in burn barrels. Residential outdoor burning is permissible in some areas of Idaho under specified conditions. Learn more.

Trade Waste

Trade waste includes materials generated during construction, renovation, demolition, or repair of buildings and any waste generated by confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Burning of trade waste is prohibited in Idaho. Learn more.

Wildland Fires

Wildland fires are fires that occur in underdeveloped areas including public forests and rangelands, woodlots, and private timberlands. Learn more.

Wood Stoves

DEQ's statewide wood stove program encourages the use of cleaner-burning wood stoves. It is designed to help homeowners burn more efficiently and create less pollution. Learn more.

Staff Contacts

Smoke Management Supervisor
Mark Boyle
DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 666-4607

Air Quality Manager
David Luft
DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0550

Air Quality Manager
Shawn Sweetapple
DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 666-4602

Air Quality/Remediation Manager
Rensay Owen
DEQ Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
(208) 528-2650

Air Quality Manager
Philip Hagihara
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370

Air Quality Manager
Melissa Gibbs
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160

Air Quality/Remediation Manager
Bobby Dye
DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 736-2190

DEQ Posters

It is Illegal to Burn These Materials in an Outdoor Fire

What Can & Cannot Be Burned

You Breathe What You Burn

More Information

Learn Before You Burn

Related Pages

Daily Air Quality Reports and Forecasts