Open Burning in Unincorporated Lake County

The Lake County Board enacted an emergency ordinance that temporarily bans open burning in unincorporated Lake County through June 10, 2020. During this time, open burning is prohibited in the unincorporated areas.

Recreational fires that are no larger than 3’ x 3’ x 3’ used for warming, cooking, and other recreational purposes are not included in this ban. The temporary ban is in addition to existing prohibitions which include burning garbage, refuse, or construction materials. The length of the temporary ban is subject to extension by the Lake County Board in response to developing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fire Pit
Burning Leaves

Why was the emergency ordinance put in place?

Exposure to smoke from open burning can increase serious health consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic in both people who have existing respiratory conditions and those who don’t. People who contract COVID-19 are more likely to develop more severe symptoms and/or serious complications due to smoke exposure.

The temporary ban also reduces the risk of the uncontrolled spread of fire, which could impact fire departments and other first responders at a time when their resources are needed to assist with the community COVID-19 response operations.

How will the temporary ban be enforced?

Not adhering to the temporary ban can result in a violation of the Lake County Temporary Emergency Nuisance Ordinance. 

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

Please have the address, specific location or Property Index Number (PIN), if available, of the property where the violation is occurring so that Lake County may follow up on the complaint in a time-efficient manner.

Alternatives to burning yard waste

Did you know that there are alternatives to burning yard waste that can have positive impacts on the areas surrounding your home? 


You can mulch leaves and grass clippings right where they are, as most mowers have mulching capabilities. Use the leaves on your garden or landscaped areas, around trees, or leave both the mulched leaves and grass on your lawn. This can improve soil, suppress weeds the following season by as much as 80 percent, aid trees and regulate moisture, and provide food for critters such as turtles, toads and birds.

Lawnmower Mulching


Consider composting! It’s easy and the rewards are tremendous. Leaves and other yard material are some of the building blocks for good compost. Visit the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County’s website for helpful tips to start composting in and around our home.


Yard Waste Pick-Up Programs

Avon, Ela, Fremont, Lake Villa, Shields, or Warren townships offer yard waste pick-up programs. Those living in other townships can contact their waste hauler to see if they offer a yard waste pick-up service in their area.

  • Advanced Disposal Services: 847-623-3870
  • Groot Industries: 847-693-2700
  • Lakeshore Recycling Services: 773-685-8811
  • Lakes Disposal Services: 847-366-8582
  • Prairieland Disposal and Recycling: 847-381-9300
  • Waste Management: 800-796-9696