Fire Restrictions

Fire Burn Bans/Red Flag Days

Thornton enforces Adam's County Burn Bans.

Open Burning

Open burning is allowed at single-family homes, duplexes, and townhomes without a permit, provided these regulations are met: 

  • Only small fires are allowed (maximum 3-foot diameter by 2-foot height) that are contained in a non-combustible chiminea, outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or other approved method. 
  • All openings in the container must be covered with wire mesh or other screening materials that will prevent the passage of sparks and embers. 
  • Fires must be kept at least 15 feet from structures. 
  • Fires must be constantly attended. 
  • The burning of yard waste, leaves, garbage, or other rubbish is prohibited in the City of Thornton, unless specifically exempted. 

All other open burning requires a permit from the Thornton Fire Department. 

Open Burning Regulations Brochure [PDF/472KB]

Frequently Asked Questions


In Thornton you can’t legally possess, make, store, sell, handle, and use fireworks in the city limits. A first violation will result in a mandatory minimum $500 fine.  A second violation within 12 months will result in a mandatory minimum $1000 fine.

To dispose of fireworks without penalty, bring them to any Thornton fire station through July 10.

Fireworks Illegal in Thornton [PDF/365KB]

Sky Lanterns

The use of sky lanterns or related devices are not permitted within the City of Thornton and are in violation of the Thornton Fire Department Fire Code. 

Sky lanterns (also known as Kongming lanterns, wish lanterns, Chinese lanterns, sky candles or aerial luminaries) are typically constructed of a paper shell on a lightweight frame which holds a fuel cell. Fuel cells are typically comprised of a small candle or other waxy flammable materials.

Sky lanterns resemble small hot air balloons. The fuel cell is lit and the resulting open flame fills the paper shell with hot air causing the lantern to rise into the air. These devices cannot be controlled and have been known to travel great distances from the point of release which poses a serious fire and safety hazard due to the potential of starting unintended fires in populated/unpopulated areas as well as to vegetation or buildings.

City Ordinance  Subsection 308.1.6.3 is hereby amended to read as follows:  

308.1.6.3 Sky lanterns. A person shall not release or cause to be released a sky lantern.