Open Burning Restrictions in Unincorporated Lake County

Temporary Open Burning Ordinance (Effective Until May 31, 2022) 

A temporary ordinance is currently in effect that allows open burning on all properties in unincorporated Lake County from sunrise to sunset on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only, as was the case through much of 2020 and 2021.  The temporary ordinance also will allow open burning from sunrise to sunset any day of the week if the burning occurs at least 500 feet from the nearest habitable structure. There are exemptions for prescribed habitat and ecological landscape burns. 

Residents who live within unincorporated Lake County may continue to burn all yard waste until permanent ordinance provisions take effect on June 1.

Permanent Open Burning Ordinance (Effective June 1, 2022)

The Lake County Board approved an ordinance to enact permanent open burning restrictions for unincorporated areas of Lake County. In addition to the ordinance, franchise waste hauler agreements to provide consolidated waste hauling services in unincorporated areas within certain townships were approved.

The ordinance will go into effect on June 1, 2022, to coincide with the start of consolidated waste hauling services. 

The ordinance can be found online. Below is a breakdown of how the ordinance impacts recreational fires and burning yard waste. Additional background information can be found on the open burning interactive website.

Allowed Under Ordinance

  • Recreational wood-burning fires that are no larger than 3’ x 3’ x 3’ if  used for warming, cooking, and other recreational purposes
Fire Pit

Prohibited at All Times Under Ordinance

  • Burning garbage, refuse, or construction materials (note that this has been prohibited for many years)
  • Burning non-woody yard waste, such as leaves and grass
Burning Leaves

Restricted Under Ordinance

  • Burning woody yard waste is permitted annually between Nov. 1 – March 31. Woody yard waste generally consists of sticks, branches and tree limbs
Restricted Burning

Ordinance Enforcement

Violations of this ordinance are subject to enforcement. 

Phone

To report a suspected open burning violation occurring in the unincorporated area, please call the Lake County Open Burning Hotline at 847-377-2999.

Provide the address, specific location, or Property Index Number (PIN), if available, of the property where the suspected violation is occurring so that Lake County may follow up on the complaint in a time-efficient manner. NOTE: it is important to report the information at the time the burning is occurring to assist staff in conducting a proper on-site assessment of the situation.

Please note, some unincorporated areas are also subject to their local fire protection district's restrictions on open burning. Residents should contact their fire district for more details on applicable regulations. Residents can see who their fire protection district is and if they reside in a village/city or unincorporated Lake County by searching their address using the County's Maps Online tool

Franchise Waste Hauling (Effective June 1, 2022)

Lake County has franchise waste hauler agreements with Groot Industries and Lakeshore Recycling Systems for certain townships of unincorporated areas. Learn more.