Legal Insight. Business Instinct.

Are you planning to burn debris? You need a Permit.

As the weather warms up and lawns begin to turn green from the recent rain, many farmers and ranchers will be cleaning up their property for the upcoming summer. This cleanup may include the need to burn some debris.
If you grew up in eastern Idaho, or have lived here for a while, you may not think twice about setting your ditch bank or leaf pile on fire, but you probably should.
Idaho Code 38-115 says that if you are burning anything between May 10 and Oct. 20, you need to first obtain a permit from the Idaho Department of Lands. While this law was passed in 1972, it has generally not been enforced in the southern parts of the state. In 2012, the Idaho Department of Lands began to take over responsibility for issuing burn permits to residents who do not live within city limits.
Failure to obtain a permit may result in criminal charges or fines.
So now the question is, how do you get a permit and how much will it cost? Permits to burn anything except crop residue are free of charge and may be obtained from the Department of Lands either in person or online at
The permits, once issued, are good for 10 days and can be renewed through the same website. If you plan on burning crop residue, there is an additional permit you must obtain. This permit is issued through the Department of Environmental Quality and will cost you $2 per acre. These permits can be obtained at and must be obtained 30 days prior to burning.
In addition to obtaining a permit through either department, there may be more requirements before you burn. These requirements range from having a shovel handy, to having a truck with a 100 gallon water tank on it with a 10 gallon-per-minute pump. These requirements can be found on the Department of Lands website when you apply for your permit.
Additionally, it is a good idea to check with your city or county to see if there are additional requirements.
While it may seem strange to get a permit before you burn your ditches, it is the law. However, there is some good news – you don’t need a permit for a recreational campfire. So sit back and enjoy your s’mores cooked over the campfire, but if you plan on burning anything else from May 10 to Oct. 20, make sure you first get a permit.
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