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You didn’t think that one would be so simple, did you? I’m not surprised. The answer to this burning question is “yes and no.” In the following paragraphs, we will explore the legality of backyard leaves fires in more detail.

Burning the leaves in your yard can be a risky affair. Check with local authorities to find out if you’re legally allowed to do it, or else there may be legal repercussions for doing so. In many areas, it will be illegal to burn leaves. 

1. Burning leaves might be banned where you live

Burning leaves might be banned where you live. Check with local authorities to find out if it is legal, or else there may consequence for doing so. 

Checking your local code for your municipality for any restrictions on backyard fires is a good idea.

If you live in an area where burning leaves are illegal, it might be best to compost your yard waste instead of risking fines or other penalties for violating the law 

Some cities will offer a permit for closed burning, but you will need to contact your local government for more information.

2. It can be a hazard to your health and the environment

It can be a hazard to your health and the environment. Burning leaves release toxins into smoke, which is bad for people with asthma or other respiratory issues  It also produces particulate matter that contributes more heavily than any of our sources in America’s air pollution problem. This includes soot from wood-burning stoves as well! 

The EPA estimates these particles are responsible for about 20% (or $20 billion)of all public costs related just to outdoor emissions every year. 

Buring leaves can also cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. The carbon monoxide and other gases released can also cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

The smoke from burning leaves is a major contributor to air pollution in urban areas. 

It contains many of the same pollutants as car exhaust fumes or factory smokestacks- carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides(NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOX), particulate matter (PM). Which are linked with asthma attacks among children living near busy roads for example). 

3. Burning site selection and preparation are essential.

The site should be at least 100 feet from any building, and away from overhanging branches or other flammable materials. 

The ground surface needs to have a slope of about 15 degrees for proper airflow when the leaves are burned in piles on top no stumps can remain as they will burn too hot which could cause smoke damage if left unattended (or worse).  

If you want your fire pit area cleared out before burning time arrives then it’s best not just pile up all that brush but instead use an electric leaf blower with an extension cord so there is less work later! 

If using gas-powered equipment like this make sure their engines do NOT leak fuel near where combustibles may exist such as light vegetation nearby; otherwise risk.

4. Safe burning techniques can prevent emergencies.

Plan when you will burn the leave you don’t want it to be windy or raining. You also want to make sure the leaves are dry as wet leaves could cause a fire to spread.

Plan when you will burn leaves, don’t want it windy or raining, and dry them first for safety reasons (prevent emergencies). The best time would be in late fall before they start falling off trees naturally on their own but if not then wait until wintertime after all snow has melted away from your yard/garden area because that’s what makes burning easier than trying during spring.

Keep a garden hose on standby, ready to quickly extinguished any fire that starts to lose control. You never want to leave the fire unattended once it has been lit.

5. A large drum is safer alternatives to open burning

The large drum is safer alternatives to open burning.  

The large drums are usually metal and have a lid on top that can be closed when not in use, preventing any sparks from escaping into the air or onto dry leaves nearby which could cause an uncontrollable fire if left unattended for too long. 

If you do decide it’s best just leave them outside then make sure they’re far away enough so there isn’t anything close by like trees/grass etc. 

But also don’t place these containers near your home because of potential risk factors such as smoke inhalation. Due to lack of proper ventilation inside the house with windows shut tight during wintertime months.

What To Do Instead Of Buring leaves?

It is recommended by the EPA that the most environmentally friendly way of depositing leaves is to compost them.

There are many ways to do this, but the most common is by using a tarp and turning it over every few days for about three months until it has decomposed into rich soil. 

It will make compost that can be used in gardens or flowerbeds as fertilizer (or even on your lawn).  

Another way of doing so would involve placing leaves onto an open area where there’s no grass like dirt/gravel etc. 

Then watering down these areas with water from time-to-time which will help break up any clumps before decomposition occurs more quickly than if left untouched. 

Without being watered periodically throughout the winter season when rain isn’t present at all times. Due to its seasonal patterns here within the North American region during fall & spring seasons respectively.

Fire Hazards

The fire hazards of burning leaves for some are just too great and they chose to compost.

To many people burning leaves is not recommended because it can create a fire hazard. Leaves are very dry and burn easily. This means that they produce more smoke than other types of yard waste when burned in an open area like the backyard or front lawns. 

Where there’s no protection from wind gust to disperse them away quickly enough before any sparks fly off. Into nearby brush/wooded areas causing wildfires as well (which could be devastating for those who live close by). 

Leaf Buring FAQ

We have a look at some of the common questions that people have in regard burning leaves. 

Is burning leaves toxic?

The smoke from burning leaves is not toxic. It does contain particulate matter that can be harmful to people with asthma or other respiratory problems. But it’s the same as any wood-burning fire in this respect. But far less than a cigarette would produce for example (which we all know are bad).

Is it good to burn leaves?

Air pollution and health hazards are only a couple of the reasons you shouldn’t burn your leaves. Leaves that have been dried naturally will produce less smoke than wet ones, so go for leaf mulching instead!

Are leaf ashes good for grass?

Leaf ashes are not good for the grass. If you’re looking to fertilize your lawn, use a fertilizer instead!


The best way to dispose of leaves is by composting them. If you choose not to, then make sure that the area where they are being burned has a fire extinguisher nearby. Also, there’s no wind or other factors which could cause it from spreading quickly before anyone can put out any sparks with water/sand.