Idaho Environmental Guide for Local Governments: Burning and Smoke Management
Smoke generated by burning can contribute to poor air quality and impact human health. Smoke 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 sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with asthma or other respiratory ailments.
Why Communities Should Care
Restrictions may exist on what can be burned and when, and an air permit may be required as outlined in Idaho's Rules for Control of Air Pollution in Idaho (Sections 550-562 and 600-623).
Burning of most processed or manufactured materials is prohibited (exemptions may apply), including:
- garbage from food preparation
- dead animals or animal waste
- junk motor vehicles or parts
- tires or other rubber materials
- tar and petroleum materials
- preservative-treated wood
- trade waste (commercial, industrial, or construction)
- insulated wire
- pathogenic (disease-causing) waste
- hazardous waste
Unless a burn ban is in effect:
- residents who have house-to-house garbage collection may burn leaves, garden waste, and yard trimmings if allowed by local government ordinances during certain periods of the year.
- residents who do not have house-to-house garbage collection may burn rubbish (such as paper and cardboard), leaves, garden waste, and yard trimmings if burning is conducted on the property where the waste was generated.
What Communities Can Do
- Assess projects for burning and smoke issues, evaluate the possible impact to the community, and develop management plans for this potential pollution.
- Plan ahead by providing alternatives to burning such as a community compost or wood recycling program.
- Local ordinances may further restrict or prohibit burning to help prevent emissions from burning and smoke beyond state and federal laws and regulations. Determine what is best for the health and welfare of your community.
- Contact your local DEQ office for assistance with open burning and burn ban rules.