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The Frederick County Health Department reminds county residents that there is an open burning ban in effect from June 1st through August 31st. Open burning permits cannot be used during this time period. This ban does not apply to small recreational fires such as campfires, barbeques, or gas grills. The annual ban, which is required by the Maryland State Air Quality regulations, first went into effect in June 1995. The ban extends throughout the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Region and is designed to reduce the high ozone levels that affect the region during the summer months, allowing for better air quality. The ban is not related to rainfall. Residents are also reminded that they must obtain an annual open burning permit from the Health Department prior to any open burning during the months when the burn ban is not in effect. For more information on how to obtain a permit, visit the Health Department’s website at http://health.frederickcountymd.gov/344/Open-Burn-Permit. Open burning ban violations and open burning without a permit are subject to fines of up to $500 under the Frederick County Code and up to $25,000 under Maryland State Regulations. Burning of household trash or household rubbish is not allowed at any time of the year. For additional information, contact the Community Services Office in the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 301-600-1717.