Burning Ordinance

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Burning Ordinance

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Acceptable 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” cannot be larger than 10x10x10, cannot 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 has to be at least 25’ from a combustible structure. If > than this it has to be at least 50’ from combustible structure.
g)  Recreational burning in an approved container, i.e. metal portable pit, clay chimney, etc. can be as close as 15’ from a combustible structure according to IFC.
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 not be within 100’ of a neighboring structure.
f) Must not be within 100’ of 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.
i) Is not permitted at an apartment building. 
In our code 6-146 (b) the term nuisance has been used in many ways. For the purpose of the Carmel Fire dept dealing with approved type fires as described above, the term nuisance (also found in Carmel Code 6-77 (f)) is not defined as a person that just does not like approved burning. If a complaint comes into dispatch, the complainant should be asked if the fire is causing them problems, or if the call is purely a concerned citizen that has noticed smoke from an unknown source. Once the source is identified, if it is an approved fire, they may continue and the officer should make contact with the complainant in person or by phone to thank them and let them know it was an approved fire.

If the complainant states that the fire/smoke is causing them problems, upon arriving the officer should first determine if the fire is approved or not.

If it is not an approved fire, then it should be extinguished by the company or the person in charge of the fire. The person in charge of the fire is to be given a copy of the burning ordinance and that person’s name, and pertinent contact information is to be included in the report.

If it is an approved fire, the officer can then observe the scene and decide if the conditions truly pose a nuisance for the complainant, for example a large amount of smoke heading directly into the home or outside activity of the complainant.
    If there is mostly complete combustion and little to no smoke being emitted, or if the smoke is obviously not going the direction of the complaint and therefore not posing a real nuisance to the complainant, the approved burning may continue.
    The officer should make contact with the complainant to ensure he/she has the complete story. The complainant also needs to be aware of the local rules regulating approved fires. Many citizens are not aware.

A common complaint has been that someone may have an unusual sensitivity to smoke. According to our City code, 6-77 , it is not a nuisance if the smoke does not threaten the health of a person with ordinary sensibilities.


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