Burning in Alaska

  • The majority of wildland fires in Alaska are caused by careless human activity.
  • Alaska's fire season is from April 1st to August 31st.
  • Burn permits are required during fire season for all open burning, with a few exceptions.
  • State laws and regulations pertaining to burning practices apply statewide all year. (AS 41.15.010-41.15-170 and 11 AAC95 Article 6).
  • Burn permits are subject to burn restrictions, suspensions, and closures.
  • Experience has show that 75% or more of burn barrels do not meet Burn Barrel Specifications. Non-compliant burn barrels are subject to burn permit requirements and burn suspensions. Citations will be issued for violations! Penalties may also apply for unsafe burning.
  • You are responsible for any fire you set or cause until it is 'dead out'. Fully understand and follow safe burning practices.

Be FireWise and Fire Safe


Burn Barrel Specifications

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Notice: Experience has shown that 75% or more of burn barrels do no meet the below specifications and are subject to burn permit requirements and burn suspensions. Citations will be issued for violations!

Burn Barrel Guidelines

  • Materials that should not be put in a burn barrel are: plastics, garbage, rubber, Styrofoam, asbestos, and things that do not burn easily.
  • Clean wood, paper, and unwaxed cardboard can be burned in many communities.
  • The material you burn in your burn barrel should be as dry as possible; feed the fire paper and other items in small amounts to make sure they are completely burned.
  • Keep the flames in the burn barrel going strong so that things will burn more thoroughly and completely. This will result in a cleaner, less smoky burn.
  • Do not allow the burn barrel to smolder, especially overnight.
  • Burn in your burn barrel only when the wind speed is less than 10 miles per hour.
  • Remember: anyone using a burn barrel is liable for a wildfire that escapes as a result of negligence. If you start a fire, you are responsible for it until the fire is completely out!
  • A fire in your burn barrel must be put out immediately if a health official or public safety authority asks you to. Be sure to have the appropriate tools and water on hand to be able to do so quickly.
  • Be aware that fire officials may close an area to burning. Check with your local authorities before you begin to use your burn barrel to find out if there are special burning requirements.
  • Attend fire until it is out.
  • Burn barrels are not permitted within some city limits. Please check with your nearest fire authorities for regulations.

Basic Burn Barrel Design

  • Choose a clean metal barrel in good condition. A 55 gallon drum size is recommended.
  • Cut three evenly-spaced, three-inch square draft vents around the lower section of the barrel (see diagram below).
  • You can also cut a row of draft vents around the mid-section and near the top of the barrel.
  • Cover all vent openings with 5/8 inch woven metal mesh screen, and make a cover for the top with the same screening.
  • Locate the burn barrel at least 30 feet away from any structure and 50 feet away from any underground or above ground utility corridor.
  • Make sure there is a water source nearby.
  • Clear an area ten feet wide around the burn barrel, down to bare soil.

Burn barrels are not permitted within the city limits of some jurisdictions. Please check with your nearest fire authorities for regulations.

burn barrel