Nevada Revised Statute 472.520 (formerly NRS 473.090) makes it a misdemeanor to burn inflammable material by fire or fireworks in Nevada’s unincorporated areas without first getting a written permit from the State Forester Firewarden. Misdemeanors carry up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
NRS 472.520. 1. Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 527.126, it is unlawful for any person, firm, association, corporation or agency to burn, or cause to be burned, any brush, grass, logs or any other inflammable material, or blast with dynamite, powder or other explosive, or set off fireworks, or operate a welding torch, tarpot or any other device that may cause a fire in forest, grass or brush, either on the land of the person, firm, association, corporation or agency or on the land of another, or on public land, unless the burning or act is done under a written permit from the State Forester Firewarden or the State Forester Firewarden’s duly authorized agent and in strict accordance with the terms of the permit.
2. Written permission is not necessary:
(a) At any time during the year when the State Forester Firewarden determines that no fire hazard exists.
(b) To burn materials in screened, safe incinerators, or in incinerators approved by the local governmental jurisdiction, the State Forester Firewarden or the State Forester Firewarden’s duly authorized agent, or in small heaps or piles, where the fire is set on a public road, corrals, gardens or ploughed fields, and at a distance not less than 100 feet from any woodland, timber or brush-covered land or field containing dry grass or other inflammable material with at least one adult person in actual attendance at the fire at all times during its burning.
3. This section does not prevent the issuance of an annual permit to any:
(a) Public utility covering its usual and emergency operation and maintenance work.
(b) Person who engages in agricultural production.
4. This section does not prevent the building of necessary controlled small camp and branding fires if caution is taken to make certain that the fire is extinguished before leaving. In any case where the fire escapes and does injury to the property of another, the escape and injury are prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
5. The provisions of this section apply only to areas of land that are outside of incorporated cities and towns.
6. Any person, firm, association, corporation or agency violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
7. As used in this section:
(a) “Agricultural production” means an activity associated with the production of agricultural products for food, fiber, fuel or any other lawful use, including every process and step necessary and incident to the preparation, production and storage of agricultural products for human or animal consumption. The term includes, without limitation:
(1) Planting, harvesting or raising agricultural, horticultural, floricultural or viticultural crops, including, without limitation, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nursery stock, plant products, plant by-products and plant compost;
(2) Breeding, raising, feeding or managing livestock, furbearing animals, fish, bees and any other animal or aquatic species, or any product thereof;
(3) The construction, expansion, use, maintenance or repair of an agricultural production facility;
(4) Processing and packaging; and
(5) Manufacturing feed for animals.
(b) “Agricultural production facility” means any structure or land that is used for the production of agricultural products, including, without limitation, a structure or land that is privately or publicly owned, leased or operated.
(c) “Livestock” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 569.0085.
In general, NRS 472.520 prohibits causing a fire without a written permit from the State Forester Firewarden (or his/her agent) in any unincorporated area of Nevada. It does not matter whether the burning is ignited through
- a welding torch
- tarpot, or
- any other device that may cause a fire1
However, written permission to do a controlled burn is not necessary if the burn is done during a time when the State Forester Firewarden determines that no fire hazard exists. Written permission also is not necessary to burn materials in screened, safe incinerators or incinerators approved by the local government or State Forester Firewarden (or his/her agent). Finally, written permission is not necessary to burn materials in small heaps or piles on a public road, corral, garden, or ploughed field as long as they are at least 100 feet from any woodland, timber, brush, dry grass, or other inflammable materials, and there is at least one adult present.2
Violating NRS 472.520 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. Note that this statute does not prevent people from making “necessary controlled small campfires” as long as they extinguish the fire before leaving the premises.3
- NRS 472.520 – Unlawful burning, blasting or use of fireworks, welding torch or other device; permits; exceptions; penalty.= See also Batt v. State, (1995) 111 Nev. 1127 and State v. Second Judicial Dist. Court of Nev. (2020) 462 P.3d 671.