Ask the Chief: Know the rules before lighting a fire


"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: What are the rules and regulations for having a campfire or burning in town?

A: Great timing on a good question, with the weather getting nicer, evening fire pits are quite common in town. City of Red Wing Code Section 10.19, Minnesota State Fire Code addresses open burning and recreational fires within the city.

Open burning: City Code, Section 10.19, Subdivision 4 states the limits set forth at Section 105.6.30 of the Minnesota State Fire Code in which operational permits are required for open burning are hereby adopted as the limits for the city. Permit applications can be obtained/completed at City Hall or from the Fire Department.

Recreational fires: May be held without any permit provided the following regulations are adhered to:

• Recreational fires shall be in a commercially purchased or fire department approved burning appliance or contained in a pit below grade.

• Pits shall be a maximum of three feet in diameter and a minimum of one foot deep. Flames from the fire shall not exceed three feet above ground level. Any fires larger than this shall be considered open burning and be regulated by permit.

• Burning appliances and fire pits shall be located a minimum of 25 feet from any structure; 15 feet from any power line or property line.

• Conditions which could cause a fire to spread to any structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

• The regulation form shall specifically list the materials that can and cannot be burned.

• All burning materials shall be contained within the burning appliance or fire pit at all times.

• A responsible adult shall be in attendance at all times during recreational fires.

• A suitable means of controlling or extinguishing the fire must be available at all times. This may be accomplished by the use of a water hose, shovel and dirt or sand, or fire extinguisher.

• The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office shall be notified at 651‑385‑3155 prior to ignition.

• The Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, any firefighter, DNR employee, or other peace officer is authorized to require burning to be immediately discontinued if local weather conditions warrant or if recreational burning is deemed to be a public nuisance.

• Recreational fires are prohibited when burning restrictions or bans are in place.

• Violating or exceeding any regulations listed on the form shall be cause for immediate extinguishment of the fire. If party remains non-compliant, it can result in a misdemeanor violation.


1. City of Red Wing Code, Section 10.19, Minnesota State Fire Code.