Open Burning Ban In Effect !!!! Maryland Department of the Environment Imposes Area Wide Open Burning Ban.
The ban coincides with warmer weather when there is potential for poor air quality and drought. During hot, dry weather periods, Maryland's forests and meadows are vulnerable to fires. These weather conditions can also cause poor air quality, especially for high concentrations of ozone pollution. To reduce the risk of fires and bad air episodes, the open burning ban will be imposed through September 1. The MDE ban is in effect in the following counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's.
The ban restricts the open burning of leaves, yard debris, and trash to prevent smoke and emissions of volatile organic compounds, which can contribute to ozone formation. The local fire departments where the MDE ban is imposed see the benefits of the ban in preventing wild land fires.
The MDE ban does not apply to the outdoor cooking of food or to recreational campfires. However, the Maryland Forest Service or Department of Natural Resources may impose separate bans for open burning at parks and other woodlands if conditions necessitate a ban to protect woodlands. Preventing forest fires also protects air quality as smoke from wildfires contains fine particle matter with numerous chemicals and compound groups that can enter the lungs and pose a threat to human health.
The Maryland Department of the Environment is considering a proposal to ban open burning year-round and statewide to meet goals for particle pollution. Banning the burning of trash, leaves and wood debris prevents the release of soot and other air pollutants associated with open burning.
Burning regulations are enforced by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Violations carry fines up to $1000 and/or one year in prison. The landowner can be charged with all of the costs associated with extinguishing the fire. Even small campfires can cause wildfires if they are not fully extinguished. Soak the coals with lots of water and make sure they are out cold!