News Release, Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal

Marylanders are reminded of safety and jurisdictional requirements when burning outdoors. Open air burning is defined as a fire where any material is burned in the open or in a receptacle other than a furnace, incinerator, or other equipment connected to a stack or chimney. It also includes other fires such as campfires.

Alternatives to open air burning include: composting, disposal at a local landfill where the yard debris can be turned into mulch or periodic curb-side pick-up by your regular trash collector (where available).

If you must burn, take the time to ensure that all safety and regulatory precautions have been taken. Permits may be required for all open air burning except for small recreational fires such as campfires. The permit from the Department of Natural resources is in addition to and does not substitute for a permit from the local health department. For permit information, please call your local health department, fire department or contact the Department of Natural Resources Forest Service Office at (410) 260-8531 or go online at:

Tips for open air burning:

  • Don’t burn on windy days.
  • Have hand tools and a ready water supply on site.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.
  • Clear the area around the site for a minimum of ten feet.
  • Burn at a safe distance from your home, shed or other structures.

Note from Calvert County Public Safety:

You are allowed to burn any time after 4 p.m. seven days a week EXCEPT during the Calvert County Burn Ban, which lasts from June 1 through September 1 every year AND in locations where there are “Burn Ordinances”, such as the beaches.

You must burn away from wooded areas or structures and you must have a water supply nearby. 

Fires must be attended at all times and must be put out by midnight. 

Notify the Calvert Control Center (410-535-1600,ext. 2230 or 410-535- 3491) prior to conducting controlled burns in case someone calls 9-1-1 stating that they see smoke in your area.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...