Burning Ordinance

All open burning is prohibited with the following exceptions:
  • Disaster Rubbish: The open burning of rubbish, including landscape waste, for the duration of a community disaster period in cases where an officially declared emergency condition exists and open burning has been determined to be necessary by the Mayor.
  • Diseased Trees: The open burning of diseased trees shall be allowed. However, when the burning of the diseased trees causes a nuisance appropriate action may be taken to require relocation of the burning operation. Rubber tires shall not be used to ignite the diseased trees. Written permission from the Grinnell Fire Chief shall be required to burn diseased trees.
  • Flare Stacks: The open burning or flaring of waste gases, provided such open burning or flaring is conducted in compliance with the applicable rules of the State Department of Natural Resources.
  • Prairie Maintenance: Persons engaging in bona fide prairie maintenance may get permission from the Grinnell Fire Chief to conduct prescribed burns. Use of this provision shall not be used to burn non-maintained areas and overgrown brush and nuisance vegetation.
  • Training Fires: Fires set for the purpose of the bona fide training of public or industrial employees in fire fighting methods provided that the State Department of Natural Resources Executive Director receives notice in writing at least one week before such action commences.
  • Recreational Fires: Open fires for cooking, heating, recreation, and ceremonies, provided they comply with the limits for emission of visible air contaminants established by the State Department of Natural Resources. The use of charcoal, gas, or electric grills, barbecues, smokers or hibachis, and similar outdoor cooking fire receptacles may take place at any time. The burning of landscape waste generated on the premises shall not be considered a recreation fire.
  • Variance: Any persons wishing to conduct open burning of materials not exempted herein may make application for a variance to the State Department of Natural Resources Executive Director.
Permit Required
A permit shall be obtained from the fire chief or their representative prior to kindling an outside fire, with the exception of recreational fires. Application for such approval shall only be presented by and permits issued to the owner of the land upon which the fire is to be kindled.

Extinguishment Authority
The fire chief or their representative 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.

Location
The location for open burning shall not be less than 50 feet from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure. The following exceptions apply:
  • Fires in approved containers that are not less than 15 feet from a structure.
  • The minimum required distance from a structure shall be 25 feet where the pile size is 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height.
Bonfires
A bonfire shall not be constructed within 50 feet of a structure or combustible material unless the fire is contained in a barbecue pit. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 50 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

Recreational Fires
Recreational fires shall not be constructed within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

Attendance
Open burning, bonfires or recreational fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose, or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

For the complete ordinance see City Code, Chapter 156.