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Know the Laws - What Can You Burn Legally?

Open burning presents a risk to people's health and the environment. Depending on the circumstances, any kind of open burning may be illegal and is always discouraged.

Whenever something is burned, heat, chemicals and particles are released. Chemicals and particles from non-treated products like yard waste, wood and paper may be less dangerous than treated wood or other chemically treated natural products. However, they are still a significant source of particulate matter.

Illegal to Burn
Legal to Burn

It is against the law to burn household garbage and trash in South Carolina. Items that are illegal to burn include, but are not limited to:

  • paper and cardboard
  • motor and waste heating oil
  • roofing materials (like shingles and tar)
  • tires and other rubber products
  • paint
  • electrical wire
  • plastic
  • farm and household chemicals
  • insulation and duct work

Substantial fines can be assessed even for first-time violations for burning any of these items.

Homeowners may legally burn yard trimmings, if allowed by local ordinances. Fires used solely for human warmth (using only clean wood products), ceremonial occasions, and cooking food are also allowed under state regulation, including:

  • fireplaces
  • bonfires
  • campfires
  • outdoor barbecues

In some areas of South Carolina, if complaints are received, DHEC has the right to request the open burning be stopped or to impose other restrictions as deemed necessary.

Burning trash is always illegal in South
Carolina, even in a burn barrel.

Burning trash is always illegal in South Carolina, even in a burn barrel.

If you are still not sure about what you can or cannot burn or need to obtain a permit to conduct open burning, please contact your local fire department and check your local ordinances.