Open Burning Restrictions in Unincorporated Lake County

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. 

Permanent Open Burning Ordinance (Effective June 1, 2022)

The ordinance can be found online. Below is a breakdown of how the ordinance impacts recreational fires and burning yard waste. 

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 would be 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. 


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 Recycling & Waste and Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

Starting on June 1, 2022, Groot Recycling & Waste will provide garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup services to unincorporated areas in the northern half of Lake County, and Lakeshore Recycling Systems will provide garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup services to unincorporated areas in the southern half of Lake County. 

Neighborhood associations with pre-existing waste contracts and the franchised townships of Avon, Ela, Fremont, Lake Villa, Shields, and Warren are not affected by the agreements. 

The franchise waste hauling resolutions the Lake County Board approved are found below:

The waste hauling agreements mean that many unincorporated residents will need to change their current waste hauler to the new waste hauler depending on where they live. Residents will be given early notice and coordinated assistance to prepare for the transition on June 1.