Open Burning in Unincorporated Lake County

The Lake County Board recently voted to enact a modified emergency ordinance that temporarily allows open burning in unincorporated Lake County from sunrise to sunset on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The ordinance is effective August 11 through October 14, 2020.


Recreational fires that are no larger than 3’ x 3’ x 3’ used for warming, cooking, and other recreational purposes are still permitted on all days of the week. Burning garbage, refuse, or construction materials remains prohibited.

Fire Pit
Burning Leaves

Why was the ordinance put in place?

An emergency ordinance had previously been in effect that temporarily banned open burning in the unincorporated areas at all times and on all days of the week due to COVID-19. In recognition of the upcoming landscape maintenance season as leaves begin to fall, Lake County is temporarily permitting open burning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from sunrise to sunset. 

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.

How will the temporary ordinance be enforced?

Not adhering to the temporary ordinance 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.

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.

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.

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, and 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