Recreational Fires: Rules, Regulations and Safety

Warm weather is finally upon us. With summer quickly approaching, neighbors are anxious to spend time outdoors, including building recreation fires in the yards. While recreational fires are permitted, there are rules and regulations that must be followed.

From the City Code:

307.1.1 Prohibited open burning. Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited.

307.3 Extinguishment authority. The fire code official is authorized to order the extinguishment by the permit holder, another person responsible or the fire department of open burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation.

307.4.3. Portable outdoor fireplaces. Portable outdoor fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet (3048 mm) of a structure or combustible material.

307.5 Attendance. Open burning, bonfires, recreational fires and use of portable outdoor fireplaces shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with Section 906 with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden house or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

This means you should make sure to:

- Burn only dry material. Dampness will create excess smoke. Also keep chemicals, plastics and aerosols out of the fire to limit dangerous smoke and emissions.

- Comply if an official asks you to extinguish the fire.

- Only build fires at least 15 feet away from houses, sheds, fences or other structures. Also, avoid low-hanging branches, tall grass, or brush and stay away from items that can easily catch on fire. 

- Keep a fire extinguisher, dirt, sand or water readily available.

- Have a responsible adult present to keep an eye on the fire at all times.

Stay safe this summer! If you have any questions, contact the Bureau of Fire.