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Learn rules of open burning before you light that match

The Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department (OCSWMD) has been receiving inquiries and complaints regarding the open burning of waste material from around Ogle County.

The OCSWMD reminds residents and businesses that the open burning of refuse is prohibited in Ogle County and statewide.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Act, as well as county and local ordinances, prohibit the open burning of garbage, plastic, construction and demolition debris (wood included), furniture, mattresses, cabinets, carpet, and all other refuse.

The dangers of open burning are enhanced due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, as local resources need to be preserved for more dire emergencies and the enhanced risk factors of residents with respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who may be more at risk to respiratory infections and bothered by nuisance smoke conditions from open burning.

As summer winds down and autumn approaches, please consider alternatives to the open burning of landscape waste.

The OCSWMD discourages all open burning and recommends other means to dispose naturally of landscape waste, such as mulching, chipping, and composting, or, if available, hauled away by your local waste hauler for composting.

“If you live in a city or village, check your local open burning ordinances prior to any burning of landscape waste,” said Reita Nicholson, administrative assistant for OCSWMD. “In rural areas of Ogle County, landscape waste generated on that property may be burned under certain conditions.

“It is a good idea to notify the local fire department or the sheriff’s office prior to any larger landscape waste fire or prescribed burning of grasslands,” she said. “Landscape waste from other properties is not allowed to be hauled away and burned elsewhere.”

If you are going to burn your landscape waste, be sure that the material is dry enough to burn and not smolder, and conduct the burn during conditions that smoke will not become a nuisance for your neighbors, Nicholson said.

“Have a water source nearby and be sure that the fire is at least 50 feet from any buildings or other areas that you do not want the fire to spread to. The material should burn quickly with little to no smoke to avoid creating nuisance or health problems for your neighbors,” she said. “Other refuse, such as garbage, plastic, tires, furniture, cabinets, demolition debris, and mattresses are prohibited from being burned anywhere in Illinois.”

Contact the OCSWMD at 815-732-4020 for the regulations regarding the open burning of landscape waste, or for advice on better alternatives to open burning.

Notify the OCSWMD or Ogle County Sheriff’s Office as well if you observe illegal open burning of waste in Ogle County.

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