Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

Burn Definitions
Brush fire

Burn Definitions

Open Burning

An open burn is a fire started and used intentionally for grassland or forest management, including vegetative, habitat, or fuel management.

Slash Pile

A slash pile is made up of vegetative material that has been concentrated by manual or mechanical means into a pile measuring no more than 6 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

In unincorporated Boulder County, all slash pile burns require a permit.

Agricultural Burns

Agricultural burns do not require a permit, but to ensure that the community, first responders, and the Boulder County Communications Center understand the source of the smoke, agricultural burns need to be registered using the Open Burning Portal.

Agricultural burns are 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.”

In unincorporated Boulder County, all agricultural burns need a registration number.

Broadcast Burns

Often thought of as a “prescribed burn,” broadcast burns are defined as, “the controlled application of fire to wildland fuels in their natural or modified state over a predetermined area.” Broadcast burns are often conducted by the U.S. Forest Service to reduce wildland fire fuel loads, restore the ecological health of an area, or to clear weeds.

In unincorporated Boulder County, all broadcast burns conducted by community members require a burn plan to be registered with Boulder County Fire Management. Contact bcfiremanagement@bouldercounty.gov or call 303-441-4500 to file your burn plan.

Recreational Fires

Permits are not required for recreational fires. These include fires used for non-commercial cooking of food for human consumption (barbecues, gas stoves, charcoal fires), for instructional or religious purposes (bonfires, sweat lodges), or campfires on private land. Recreational fires should be no larger than 2 feet wide x 2 feet long x 3 feet high.

Other Exempted Burns

These types of fires do not require a permit in unincorporated Boulder County.

  • Fires in a fireplace (indoor or out)
  • Propane grills
  • Propane lanterns
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Candles
  • Tiki torches
  • Training

Fireplace

A non-flammable, semi-permanent enclosure for containing fire with a chimney for arresting embers.

Campfire

A single fire no larger than 2 feet in diameter by 3 feet high that is contained by a fireplace or fire pit, which is used for cooking, personal warmth, lighting, ceremonial, or aesthetic purposes that is not within or mounted on any structure. Charcoal grills and gas stoves are considered campfires.

Intent to Burn

This is a notification to Boulder County Fire Management that a permitted slash pile burn or registered agricultural burn is about to be ignited. Reporting your burn to dispatch is no longer necessary. Instead, log your Intent to Burn within 5 minutes of starting your burn on the Open Burning Portal or by calling the Open Burning Hotline at 720-806-4305. Make sure you have your permit number or agricultural registration number available.

Cancel your Burn

This is a notification to Boulder County Fire Management that you have canceled your permitted or registered burn. Cancel your burn as early in the day as possible on the Open Burning Portal or by calling the Open Burning Hotline at 720-806-4305. Reporting your burn to dispatch is no longer necessary.

Burn Completion

This is a notification to Boulder County Fire Management at the end of the day that you have extinguished your permitted or registered burn and consider it completed. Log your Burn Completion on the Open Burning Portal or by calling the Open Burning Hotline at 720-806-4305. Reporting your burn to dispatch is no longer necessary.

Follow all mop up instructions found in the Guide to Burning. Continue to monitor your burn site for at least 72 hours until no warmth can be detected by hand at any depth within the ash pile.

Contact Us

Sheriff's Office

Main: 303-441-3600
Alternate: 303-441-4444
Fax: 303-441-4739

bcso@bouldercounty.gov

Location

Sheriff's Headquarters
5600 Flatiron Parkway
Boulder, CO 80301
Map and Directions

Website

Sheriff's website
Head Quarters Lobby Hours:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday-Friday

Sheriff badge