Central City Fire Department 

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Open Burning             

Regulations, Procedure and Permitting

*    An open burning permit must be obtained by any individual, company or other entity prior to conducting open burning activity. 

*    The following requirements and conditions must be met in order for open burning to occur on private land in Central City Fire Department’s response area

     Non-Exempt Burns:

Permits issued by or on behalf of Central City Fire Department are required for non-exempt burns. 

Slash (Brush) Piles

Slash Pile Construction

*     Woody materials to be burned include only clean, dry slash (limbs, branches, needles, leaves) less than 6 inches in diameter. Tree stumps, trunks or logs (greater than 6 inches) shall not be included in the slash pile and are not permitted to be burned.

*     No household trash, construction debris (building materials), lumber, tires, fence post, creosote products or wood products containing hazardous chemicals, etc. shall be burned.

*     Piles shall be constructed so that the maximum size of the pile does not exceed eight feet (8) in diameter and six (6) feet in height. Piles shall be constructed so that no pile is closer than ten (10) feet to any adjacent standing tree trunk and tree crowns do not hang over the piles. Piles shall be located no closer to each other than twenty (20) feet. Piles should be constructed in openings or clearings whenever possible.

*     Do not place piles over or near tree stumps or adjacent to any large down dead or green logs, as they will burn for an extended period of time and will require additional control.

*     Piles shall be constructed no closer than fifty (50) feet from any structure.

*     Do not place piles near or under power lines or utility poles, drainages or waterways.

*     These pile construction requirements shall be closely adhered to; the fire department will inspect for pile construction standards prior to authorizing your burn permit.

When You Burn

*     Pile burning will occur ONLY when there’s a minimum of 4 INCHES of snow cover.

*     Burning slash during a snow event is encouraged from a smoke management standpoint. It’s good etiquette to not smoke out your neighbor when burning piles; notify those neighbors around you that you are burning. From a public safety standpoint-monitor your smoke when burning near roads.

*     Should temperatures and/or wind conditions develop that cause rapid melting of the snow cover, pile extinguishment shall commence. Do not light more piles than one person can manage safely at any one time. No more than two to three piles per person at one time are recommended.

*     Pile burning may only occur after sunrise. Piles must be fully extinguished before sunset (no visible smoke). No burning will take place between sunset and sunrise.

*     Wind speeds at the time of ignitions must be 10 mph or less. If wind gusts exceed 10 mph for a period of 30 minutes or more, piles will be extinguished and mopped up (no visible smoke). Piles should be visually checked the following day of the burn; all visible smoke/associated heat should be fully extinguished.

*     No burning is allowed on holidays or holiday weekends, unless pre-authorized by the fire protection district.

*     Burns must be attended at all times; permitees shall have at least one hand tool (shovel) readily available on the burn site. There must be a working telephone (fixed or cellular) readily available in case of emergency. Signed (authorized) permits will be in possession of the landowner on site when burning.

*     Permittees will notify the Gilpin County Sherriff’s Office Communications Center (Dispatch) 303-582-5511, when the burn begins and when the burn ends each day. The communications center will notify the respective Fire Protection District via phone or page that the permitted burn is scheduled for that day.

*     The permittee will notify the Central City Fire Department (in addition to contacting Gilpin Sheriff Dispatch) within 24 hours prior to and upon completion of the burn. Please leave a message if a fire department staff member is not available (i.e. weekends, holidays, etc.) 303-582-3473.

Application Process

*      Contact Central City Fire Department for the open burn permit and instructions.

*      The fire department will schedule and conduct an inspection of your burn site. If conditions of this procedural document are met, The fire department designee will sign and issue the permit. Permits are valid until the following June 30th.

*      Any governmental agency responsible for fire management or resource management (USFS, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado State Forest Service, etc.) may notify Central City Fire Department for an exemption to this permitting process.

    • Exempt Burns: 

      No authorization or permit is required for exempt burns.   
      Agricultural open burning (weeds/ditches), (recreational) camp fires, outdoor fireplaces, wood stoves, outdoor wood-fired boilers and training fires are examples of exempt burns.

      Camp Fires: Campfires can be defined as “recreational fires” in which fires are used for non-commercial cooking of food for human consumption (barbeques), for instructional or religious purposes (bon fires) or for recreational purposes (campfires on private land). This applies only to the burning of clean, dry wood (no treated wood, trash, etc).
      Campfires must be within an enclosure, constructed of steel or other non-combustible material. Enclosure shall be no larger than three feet (3) (inside) diameter. There must be an area of at least three feet (3) of clearance of combustible materials surrounding the fire enclosure.
      Campfires must be attended at all times. Campfires will be fully extinguished upon departure from the site.
      Camp fires will not be permitted within 25 feet of any structure
      Campfires are permitted year round, but NOT allowed during periods of high fire danger, i.e. during fire bans or when fire restrictions are in place in Gilpin County. Contact the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center (Dispatch) 303-582-5500 for fire restrictions and/or fire ban information.
      This applies to campfires on private property in Gilpin County only; for campfires within Golden Gate Canyon State Park (303-582-3707) or campfires on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest (303-541-5500), check with those agencies regarding permitting process, restrictions or bans.

      Training Fires: Fires utilized by fire or resource management agencies for training purposes.

      Agricultural Burns: Defined as the open burning of ground cover vegetation for the purpose of preparing the soil for crop production and livestock grazing, for the clearing of irrigation ditches and fence lines and for controlling noxious weeds for “commercial agricultural operations”. Commercial Agricultural Operations are those operations in which the growing of crops or livestock is a “gainful occupation” such that the income received from the agricultural operation is greater than $500.00 per year. Properties that are “agriculturally zoned” but do not have commercial income greater than $500.00 per year will NOT be considered “agricultural” and are NOT EXEMPT from this permitting process.

      Violation of this permit will VOID permit. Central City Fire Department and employees or agents thereof, in issuing this permit, do not assume any responsibility or liability for any hazardous condition(s) created by the permitee which result in damage to the person or property of any third person. Central City Fire Department and employees or agents thereof shall have the final authority for issuing or denying this permit. All applicable State and local regulations must be met. This permit is not a permit to violate any existing State or local laws, rules, regulations or ordinances regarding fire, zoning or building.-Reference Colorado Revised State Statutes 18-4-105, Fourth degree arson (1-4).