Burning Ordinance

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Acceptable burning/ fires

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Carmel Fire Dept. Prevention Division

Open Burning guidelines



In regards to open burning in the City Limits of Carmel, please use this guide that was made to simplify the local code and state statutes that mandate the rules for open burning.


This guide does not override any local or state code, if there is a question about a specific area of this guide, refer the actual ordinance or contact the Fire Marshals office.


Note: In the Carmel Code, “burning” is usually used to describe non-campfire type fires. The words recreational or celebration is usually used to describe campfire type fires.


This is a list of some of the accepted burning/ fires:


Recreational burning:

Campfires where dry wood products are being used for recreational purposes.

a) Can be done at any time

b) Are not to be larger than 5’ x5’ x5’ in size unless authorized by Fire Marshals office.

c) Are to be monitored from start to the time the fire is out.

d) Are not to be used as a disposal type fire.

e) “Bon Fire” can not be larger than 10x10x10, can not start more than 2 hours

prior to scheduled event, must be approved by Prevention Division, also

follow (c) and (d) above.

f) Recreational fire on the ground =/< 3x3x2high, then has to be at least 25’ from a combustible structure. If > than 3x3x2, it has to be at least 50’ from a combustible structure.

g) Recreational burning in an approved container, i.e. metal portable pit, clay chiminea, etc. can be as close as 15’ from their own house according to Indiana Fire Code.


Disposal burning also referred to as Residential Burning:

When someone is burning clean wood products as a means of disposal, it

is considered residential burning.

a) Can only be done between sunrise and sunset.

b) Must be in a non-combustible container with a mesh screen on top.

c) Must be monitored the entire time.

d) Must have an appropriate means of extinguishing the fire.

e) Must be at least 100’ away from a neighboring structure.

f) Must be at least 100’ away from a power line.

g) Cannot be done during a strong wind or during humid stagnant conditions

where the smoke lingers and does not rise.

h) Is not permitted at all at a construction site as a means of disposal.

There is an often abused allowance where legal burning of wood at a construction site (metal barrel etc.) can be used to keep workers warm. This would only be allowed during foundation and framing parts of construction.


  1. Is not permitted at an apartment building.

  2. Cannot take place on a public street or right-of-way.

This reference page does not include special rules for open flame cooking devices that are regulated within multi-family dwellings.


In all we at the Carmel Fire Dept. must serve the best interest of all citizens. The right to recreational and other permitted fires and the right not to be adversely effected by things like lingering dense smoke and the dangers of a careless fire. We want to educate the citizens as to the truth about issues we specialize in.


Division VII.  Outdoor Burning Regulations.

§ 6-145  Application of Outdoor Burning Regulations.

     All outdoor burning of any material is banned within the municipal City limits except as provided by I.C., 13-17-9 (previously 326 IAC 4-1-3 or 326 IAC 4-1-4).

(`91 Code, § 6-145)  (Ord. D-607, § A, 9-18-89; Ord. D-1219, 7-1-96)

§ 6-146  Exceptions.

     (a)     The following types of fires are permitted subject to the limitations found in subsection (b):

          (1)     Fires used for celebrating Twelfth Night Ceremonies.

          (2)     Fires used for celebrating school pep rallies.

          (3)     Fires used for celebrating scouting activities.

          (4)     Fires used for recreational and cooking purposes, i.e., camp fires.

          (5)     Residential burning where residence contains four or fewer units. Burning shall be in a noncombustible container sufficiently vented to induce adequate primary combustion air with enclosed sides, a bottom, and a mesh covering with opening no larger than ¼-inch square. Burning is prohibited in apartment complexes and mobile home parks.

          (6)     Farm burning and burning by the Department of Natural Resources as allowed by I.C. 13-17-9.

          (7)     Burning with prior receipt of a variance application and approval of the Indiana Air Pollution Control Board or its designated agent as allowed by 326 IAC 4-1-1.

     (b)     All permitted type of fires shall be subject to the following:

          (1)     Only untreated wood products shall be burned unless otherwise stated.

          (2)     Fires shall be attended at all times until completely extinguished.

          (3)     If fires create an air pollution problem, a nuisance, a health hazard, or a fire hazard, they shall be extinguished. A nuisance shall be defined so as to include a complaint regarding the burning from any downwind property owner or occupant.

          (4)     All residential burning shall occur between sunrise and sunset, during which the fires may be replenished, but only in such a manner that all of the burning material is consumed by sunset.

          (5)     No burning shall be conducted unless the wind is at least 5 m.p.h. and no more than 15 m.p.h.

          (6)     No burning shall be conducted on property owned by another party, including publicly-owned streets, roads, and highways.

          (7)     No burning shall be conducted within 100 feet of a structure owned by another party.

          (8)     No burning shall be conducted within 100 feet of a power line.

(`91 Code, § 6-146)  (Ord. D-607, § B, 9-18-89; Ord. D-1645-03, § VIII, 10-20-03)

§ 6-147  Enforcement.

     The Carmel City Fire Department and the Carmel Police Department shall have authority for issuing citations for violations of this division.

(`91 Code, § 6-147)  (Ord. D-607, § C, 9-18-89)

§ 6-148  Fines.

     (a)     Any person found to be in violation of this division shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 for each violation.

     (b)     The Carmel City Court shall be the court of jurisdiction for determining all violations cited, pursuant to this division.

(`91 Code, § 6-148)  (Ord. D-607, § D, 9-18-89)

§ 6-149 through 6-154  Reserved for Future Use.