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Ask the Chief: No, you can't burn garbage in the yard

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

Q: What's the city ordinance on burning a huge pile of garbage in your yard? My neighbor does it every year.

A: The short answer is no. It's unlawful for any person to conduct or burn by open fire any materials within the city of Red Wing unless a permit has been issued.

If you have questions or wish to report open burning, please call the Goodhue County Dispatch non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 and the appropriate response will be sent to investigate the open burning.

As you mentioned in the following section of code, burning piles must be 100 feet from structures owned by the permit holder, and 200 feet from all other structures. Since most residents in Red Wing sit on a lot that is 100-125 feet in length, it is rare that open burning is permitted in a residential area (FYI, an average block is 300 feet in length).

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

Subd. 4. Open Burning:

• 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.

• The party wanting such permit shall make application to the receptionist at City Hall for a permit on a form provided by the Fire Department, at least three days prior to the date on which burning shall commence. Open burning is prohibited when burning restrictions or bans are in place.

2. The fire chief or his/her authorized designees shall set forth the time and conditions by which the fire may be started and burned. The permittee shall have the permit on his or her person during the fire and shall produce the permit for inspection when requested to do so by the fire chief, fire marshal, any firefighter, DNR employee, or other peace officer.

A person shall not start or cause a fire to be started on any land that is not owned or under the person's legal control without the written permission of the owner, lessee, or agent of the owner or lessee of the land. The permittee shall remain with the fire at all times and before leaving the site shall completely extinguish the fire. Smoke from the burning process shall not obscure any roadway or create a public nuisance at any time.

The permit shall specifically list the materials that can and cannot be burned. Burning piles shall not be located within 100 feet of any structure owned by the permit holder, or within 200 feet of any structure not owned by the permit holder. 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, fire extinguisher or heavy equipment.

Burning permits may be suspended by the fire chief, fire marshal, any firefighter, DNR employee, or other peace officer if local weather conditions warrant or if open burning is deemed to be a public nuisance.

The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office shall be notified at 651-385-3155 before the fire is started and after the fire is extinguished on a daily basis.

Violating or exceeding any regulations listed on the permit application shall be cause for the permit to be revoked and can result in a misdemeanor violation.

Resources:

1. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green/dont-burn-your-garbage

2. Minnesota Department of Natural Resource: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/issues/2016/may-jun/illegal-burn...