County Amends Open Burning Permit Requirements

Trevor Phipps


Due to a rise in illegal burn operations in Teller County, the commissioners have decided to amend and clarify their ordinance surrounding burn permits.

Sheriff Jason Mikesell recently addressed the board and said that the amendments to the regulations were needed to clarify what types of burning were allowed under a permit.


According to Mikesell, the county has experienced an increase of people burning slash piles in ways that are only allowed under the law with a burn permit. He said that there is an organization that has been helping people burn slash on their property, but doing it in ways that violate the law.


“Instead of going after those organizations, what we planned to do was educate and change some of the wording in the burn permit regulations,” the sheriff said at the most recent county commissioners meeting.


It was also brought up that the organizations didn’t hold insurance and were burning things on other people’s property. Doing this could put the homeowner at risk of being liable if something went wrong with the burn.


The new regulations outline rules if a homeowner chooses a third party organization to help them burn slash piles. “If an open burn is to be conducted or assisted by someone other than the legal owner of the property, including any third-party organization or group, written permission from the legal owner must be submitted with the Open Burn Permit Application,” the new regulations state. “The Permittee and any third- party organization or group conducting or assisting with the open burn must provide proof insurance with the Open Burn Permit Application.”


The regulations only allow the burning of piles that do not exceed eight feet by eight feet by eight feet. The limbs being burned cannot exceed six inches in diameter.


The permit only allows one pile to be burnt per day unless the property owner gets permission in writing from the local fire chief and the sheriff in advance. No more than 50 piles can be burned during the life of the permit.


The materials being burned cannot be ignited after 2 p.m. All of the fires must be completely out at sunset and there is no burning allowed overnight.


All piles being burned must be at least 50 feet away from any building or other combustible material. Those burning are required to be observant of tree limbs and power lines overhead.


The new regulations also have a section that requires any third party assisting or conducting a burn to abide by the same rules.