Open Burning

Regulations of Open Burning Explained

The Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency, in the interest of public health regulates open burning in Buncombe County. While our primary interest is the protection of our air resources, we urge everyone to be careful with all outdoor fires. To protect these resources, we specify criteria to determine what and when people can legally burn.

The burning of leaves, brush, and yard trimmings is permitted on burning days between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., however the burning of household trash, building materials, asphaltic materials, card board, processed wood, and papers is PROHIBITED at any time. Burning of all material is prohibited where there is public pickup for yard waste. If you are burning within 500 feet of forestlands a North Carolina Forest Service permit may be required.

A permit is required to be purchased from this Agency for the burning of machine piled brush, that is the result of land clearing. The permit can be obtained at the Agency office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. The piles to be burned must be piled to promote good combustion, therefore no stumps or logs over 12 inches in diameter and no dirt shall be included in the pile. The piles shall be 500 feet from the nearest occupied structure. Exceptions can be made in advance with documentation and approval. Burning must be done on a burning day and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with no material added to the fire after 6:00 p.m. It is preferable to burn early during the approved time so that the burning will be complete prior to evening inversions that inhibit smoke dispersion.


Civil penalties will be assessed for violations.

Additional information may be obtained at the Agency office or by calling (828) 250-6777. A hotline detailing burning days may be accessed by calling (828) 250-6777 Option #1.

Frequently Asked Questions on Open Burning

You are allowed to burn anywhere that does not receive public trash pick-up. You are not allowed to burn in the Asheville city limits without a special permit from the City Fire Department.
Garbage, household trash, construction materials, treated wood, tires, plastics, cardboard, furniture, paper, shingles, wire, etc.
Only natural occurring vegetation and brush (yard trimmings, leaves, and brush).
YES. Civil penalties can reach up to $25,000. But there are other reasons you should not burn illegal material. Burning household trash can result in increased exposure to toxic chemicals and particulate matter.

You do not need a permit for hand-piled brush (small brush piled up by hand less than 6 inches in diameter), unless it is within 500 feet of a state protected woodland. Then you need a N.C. Division of Forest Resources' permit.**

You need a permit for machine-piled brush (brush resulting from land clearing). Call (828) 250-6777 for a permit and there is a fee for machine piled brush. Also, you cannot burn if there are occupied structures within 500 feet of the burn pile unless you obtain signatures to get permission to burn (Signature Form in Word, PDF). In addition, there must not be any stumps or wood that is greater than 12 inches in diameter.

On a designated open burning day determined daily by the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency. You can find out if it is a burning day by calling (828) 250-6777 Option #1 in Buncombe County for a daily recording, 7 days a week. Unless the N.C. Division of Forest Resources or the Buncombe County Fire Marshall has banned burning or it is an air quality action day (code orange, red, or purple), it is a burning day.

You can burn from 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. on a designated burning day.

** Remember- burn permits issued by the N.C. Division of Forest Resources or any local government do not excuse a person from following these rules.

The WNCRAQA is committed to public health and safety for the residents of Buncombe County. We urge everyone to be careful with any outside fire. For more information concerning open burning, please contact the agency at (828) 250-6777.

Open Burning Permits

Permit Form: Word PDF

THE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA REGIONAL AIR QUALITY AGENCY requires a burning permit from this office for all machine piled brush. A permit received from the N.C. Forest Service will not be recognized by this Agency.

A permit fee will be charged for all machine piled brush that is to be burned. The fee will based on the amount of land that is being cleared.

The permit fee schedule is listed below. Any questions may be presented to the Agency Office at 49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, N.C. or by telephone at 828-250-6777 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Permit Fees

Open Burning Fee Schedule

Hand Piled Brush:
There are no fees for hand piled brush. Hand piled brush is small brush that is piled up by hand that is less than 6 inches in diameter. You can burn hand piled brush from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on a designated burning day (Call 250-6777 Option #1 to see if it is a burning day).
Machine Piled Brush:
Machine piled brush requires a permit and can be no greater than 12 inches in diameter and requires signatures from any houses within 500 feet of the burn pile. You can burn machine piled brush from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on a designated burning day (Call 250-6777 Option #1 to see if it is a burning day).
Residential Machine Piled:
0-2 Acres $150 per acre
Each Additional Acre $250 per acre
Industrial/Commercial Machine Piled:
Each Acre $250 per acre

Open Burning Forms

Open Burning Permit Word PDF
Signature form for permission to burn Word PDF
Open Burning Pamphlet Word PDF
Fire Training Approval Form Word PDF