Burning in Williams County

Williams County Burn Ban

The Williams County Commission Chairman has signed a Fire Emergency and Automatic Burn Ban for Williams County for the remainder of 2020.

The Fire Emergency and Automatic Burn Ban includes a ban on the ignition of fireworks, garbage burning, campfires, burning of farm or crop land, and unnecessary off-road motorized travel whenever the Fire Danger Index has a status of High, Very High, or Extreme Status and/or a Red Flag Warning has been issued for Williams County. 

Any individual who willfully violates the burn ban is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor (NDCC 37- maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine).

Burning is allowed with a Low or Moderate Fire Danger Rating or upon approval of the local fire response authority having jurisdiction over the designated area in Williams County. See below for how to determine the Fire Danger Rating.

Information about open burning can be found below.

North Dakota Fire Danger Rating

The current ND Fire Danger Rating information and Fire Weather Forecasts, including Red Flag Warnings, can be found on the National Weather Service website or on the ND Response website.

The ND Fire Danger Rating is issued each morning during fire season, typically April 1 to October 31. Although not very often, there are times when weather conditions that develop during the day result in a change to fire conditions. It is critical that you verify the current Fire Danger Rating and local burn ban restrictions BEFORE burning and participating in outdoor activities.

Open Burning

No person may conduct, cause or permit the conduct of a salvage operation by open burning, and the burning of refuse and other combustible material by open burning is generally restricted. However, there are some categories of permissible open burning; some of these are as follows:

  • Fires for the instruction and training of firefighting personnel
  • Campfires and other fires for the outdoor preparation of food
  • Agricultural crop burning

Some of these categories require prior Department approval or notification. Please refer to ND Century Code Section 33.1-15-04-02 for clarification and additional categories.

In order to legally burn any material that is not specifically listed as permissible, an application for open burning variance must be completed. The application must be signed by the city or rural fire department prior to submittal to the Upper Missouri District Health Unit. Click here to download the application; once completed and signed, it should be returned to:

Upper Missouri District Health Unit
110 W. Broadway – Suite 101
Williston, ND 58801-6032

No burning of trade waste or materials that generate hazardous air pollutants such as rubber products (tires), tar paper, asphalt shingles, plastics or treated wood products will be approved. Alternatives to burning must be investigated and the request to burn must be fully justified. Cost of alternative disposal is not sufficient justification by itself. Not all variance applications will be approved.

Regardless of whether or not the burning is permissible under the rules or whether a variance to open burn has been issued, all open burning must comply with all of the conditions contained in Subsection 33.1-15-04.2. Some of these conditions are as follows:

  • No public nuisance is or will be created
  • No occupied building may be impacted by air contaminants from the burning
  • No traffic hazards can be created
  • The burning must be attended and supervised at all times
Visit the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality's website for more information about open burning.

206 East Broadway
Williston, ND 58801

Mailing Address:
PO Box 2047
Williston, ND 58802-2047


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