Open Burning Prohibitions

No Open Burning in West Mayfield

There is no open burning in the Borough of West Mayfield, except under the provisions of Ordinance 020119 (Prohibition of Open Burning) and Amending Ordinance 021119 (Permitting Recreational Fires).


No outdoor fire or burning of any nature or for any purpose shall be kindled or maintained in the Borough of West Mayfield except as listed in the following subsections:

An outdoor fire or ceremonial fire may be maintained if done so pursuant to a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection and if approved by the Borough and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department.

An outdoor fire may be maintained for cooking purposes using charcoal, wood or gas fires in approved closed containers such as metal barbecue grills with covers, covered hibachis or commercial grills which utilize propane or natural gas for combustion. 

Open fires may be set for recreational purposes pursuant to the following specific conditions:

(1) Only dry and seasoned tree wood shall be burned, and no excessive smoke is allowed.

(2) Recreational fires shall be contained in a pit made of noncombustible material such as iron, steel, masonry or stone. Said fire pit must be located not closer than fifteen feet to any structure. A recreational fire pit shall be no more than 2.5 feet high and five feet in diameter.

(3) A water hose and/or buckets/sprinkling cans shall be proximal to the recreational fire for purposes of controlling the same.

(4) No recreational fire is allowed to be left unattended. An adult at least twenty one (21) years old must supervise said fire until the last spark goes out.

(5) In cases where smoke and/or hot ashes blow directly into windows and/or roofs of adjacent homes, smoke shall be cleared or fire extinguished.

(6) Recreational fires shall be extinguished thoroughly before leaving the area or at 12:00 a.m.

Environmental Effects

Whereas, the Borough of West Mayfield has determined that open burning may be detrimental to the health, safety, welfare of Borough residents. (Ordinance 020119)
Backyard burning yard waste and other substances adds to air pollution and harms the environment. Some substances released into the air from burning yard waste are: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, dioxins, and ozone-forming chemicals. These toxins linger in your body for years and the smoke can be very dangerous for those exposed to it.
Burning produces various compounds toxic to the environment including nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, and particle pollution.
Nitrogen oxides, or NOx, is a group of nitrogen compounds that are partially responsible for acid rain and contribute to global warming, ozone depletion, and the formation of smog.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are carbon-based compounds that undergo photochemical reactions (i.e., they react with sunlight) when released into the atmosphere. The VOCs and the compounds they form in the atmosphere, such as ozone, contribute to the formation of smog.
Carbon monoxide, or CO, chemically reacts with sunlight to create harmful ozone. CO production can significantly impact ambient air quality and a region’s ability to meet Clean Air Act regulatory air quality standards. Burning garbage in a barrel or pile produces more CO than decomposition in a landfill. CO is also a significant greenhouse gas.
Particle pollution, also known as particulate matter, or PM, refers to the fine particles that produce visible smoke that reduce visibility and creates haze, which is a major air pollution problem for many rural communities. In addition to being unhealthful, particles soil our homes and cars and transport dangerous chemicals, such as dioxins.

Fire Danger

Backyard burning is also frequently the cause of residential, brush, and forest fires, particularly during drought conditions. Often, fire hazards are caused by burn piles or barrels left unattended, which grow too large or are not fully extinguished.
Sources: EPA Archives, Homewood Disposal Services


For all fire emergencies, dial 911.  

For suspected violations of ordinances prohibiting open burning, please contact the borough’s code enforcement officer.  

Citizens may also submit questions or complaints about open burning to the borough’s online citizens comment form

Concerns and complaints regarding open buring issues can be addressed by borough officials at the next public council meeting.  

Image: Powell River Peak

Posted in Borough News, Public Safety.