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Open Burn Information


What is Open Burn?

The Navajo Nation EPA defines open burning as “the burning of hazardous materials and household waste that releases chemicals into the air without controls”.  Open Burning is prohibited within the Navajo Nation unless the event is an exempt activity. An Open Burn Permit is required by the Navajo Nation Law.


Types of Open Burn

What is an Exempt Activity? 

An exempt activity is a burning activity that does not require an Open Burn Permit. The following activities do not require an open burn permit, however, they do require a completed Registration Form with NNEPA. All Registrations are voluntary.

Traditional Registration—for ALL ceremonial purposes

Agricultural Registration—for both yard and crop field clean

BURN BANS: Agricultural and Recreational burns are prohibited during an Order of Fire Restriction.


Prohibited Materials

The following materials are illegal to burn on the Navajo Nation:

· Household waste

· Tires or rubber materials

· Plastics, plastic products or Styrofoam

· Asphalt or composition roofing

· Tar, tarpaper, petroleum products, or paint

· Paper, paper products, or cardboard (Other than what is necessary to start a fire) 

· Lumber or timber treated with preservatives

· Construction debris or demolition waste

· Insulated wire, batteries, or light bulbs

· Material containing mercury

· Asbestos or asbestos-containing materials

· Pathogenic wastes

· Hazardous waste (Excluding petroleum, crude oil, natural gas, etc.)

· Manure

· Any material other than vegetation that normally emits dense smoke or noxious fumes when burned


Health Effects:

The smoke from Open Burning activities consist of many pollutants that are a threat to public health, especially the health of children, elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma. These pollutants include: Particulate Matter (PM), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Ash residue.

Particulate Matter (PM) causes:

· Increased symptoms of coughing and difficulty breathing

· Decreased lung function and aggravated asthma

VOCs can cause:

· Damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system

· Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

· Headaches, nausea, and loss of coordination

Carbon Monoxide (CO) can:

· In mild poisoning, have symptoms of light headedness, confusion, headaches, vertigo, and flu-like symptoms

· Lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system

· Have severe effects on a women’s fetus

Alternatives to Disposing Household Trash

Reduce your household waste—Avoid purchasing groceries and other products with excessive packaging and plastic.

Reuse many items as possible, such as food containers.

Recycle glass, plastic, newsprint, aluminum, used motor oil, and other recyclable materials whenever possible.

Compost leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps. Compost makes excellent mulch and natural fertilizer for gardens.

Take your household hazardous waste such as cleaners and oil paints to a local waste disposal site or your nearest transfer station.

Never burn household trash in a wood stove, fireplace, or in the open outdoors.


For more information please contact:

NNEPA Air Quality Control Program

Route 112 N Bldg. #2427

Fort Defiance, AZ 86504

Phone: (928) 729-4246 Fax: (928) 729-4323