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Open Burning Rules

The following rules are taken from chapter 16 of the Bridgeport Charter Township Code of Ordinaces. Additional information has been added for further clarification.

1) Burning permits are required to conduct all open burning, excluding cooking fires contained within a barbecue pit. Permits may be obtained at the fire station during normal business hours or by automated phone service when available.

Burn permits for up to 3 days can be obtained by calling 777-1286.

Longer duration permits may be aquired if conditions permit by visiting the fire department in person or calling 777-2400 during normal business hours.

The Fire Chief reserves the right suspend all burning permits at any time atmospheric conditions warrant. Incidents of this happening have occured primarily from late March to mid May when vegetation has not turned green and moisture content is low.


2) Open burning of household rubbish, tires, building materials and paper products is strictly prohibited.

The use of a burn barrel does not exclude this rule.

In short, if it did not grow in your yard you can not burn it with the exception of firewood brought in for the purpose of a campfire.

The the burning of so called "untreated" building material is prohibited.


3a) Open burning of any unrestricted material (yard waste) shall not be conducted within 50 feet of any structure or other combustible material. Conditions which could cause the fire to spread to within 50 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

3b) Recreational fires and cooking fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure of combustible material unless contained within a barbecue pit. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread to within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.


4) All open burning shall only be permitted during daytime hours, unless specifically permitted by the fire chief or his designee, and when atmospheric conditions do not cause a fire hazard.

Recreational fires and cooking fires are permitted after dark as long as they meet the criteria of such fires.

The burning of a pile of leaves, grass or twigs will not be accepted as a cooking fire or recreational fire and must be extinguished.


5) A garden hose connected to a water supply or other approved fire-extinguishing equipment ( buckets containing water or sand; shovels; fire extinguishers with a minimum 4-A rating) shall be readily available for use at all open burning sites.

To be considered "readily available" the extinguishing equipment shall be within 10 feet of the fire at all times.

The amount of extinguishing agent shall be relative to the size of the fire. A bucket of water will not suffice for a fire 10 feet in diameter.


6) All open burning shall be constantly attended by a person at least 18 years of age, knowledgeable in the use of the fire extinguishing equipment required by this permit, and familiar with the limitations which restrict open burning. Said attendant shall supervise all open burning until the fire has been extinguished.

You cannot "supervise" a fire from inside a home or other structure.

You cannot "supervise" a fire from the opposite side of a structure.

You must completely extinguish a fire prior to leaving the premise or retiring for the night.


7) The fire chief or his designee is authorized to require open burning to immediately discontinued if the chief or his designee determines it to constitute a hazardous condition.

Please use common sense when choosing to burn. If the winds are in excess of 5 mph it may be best to wait until winds die down before burning or if winds begin to increase, extinguish your fire if started already.

Be mindful of your neighbors and wind direction. One of our biggest complaints of the last few years are neighbors arguing over smoke and the nuisance it sometimes causes. Some residents do have legitimate respiratory issues that can be aggravated by excessive smoke.

For those residents that believe that all burning shall be disallowed, a repeal of this ordinance would be required by the Township Board. The Fire Chief and or fire department can only enforce the requirements of the open burning ordinance and cannot stop residents from burning unless they have wilfully violated said ordinance or weather issues exist. We cannot set-up burn free areas within the township unless the Township Board changes the wording of the Ordinance.


8) Any person or other entity who violates any of the provisions of this article is responsible for a municipal civil infraction.

Essentially if the fire department is called to a location and there is a violation found a fine could be levied against persons responsible.

Depending on the severity of the violation or if it is a repeat offense your burning privileges can be permanently revoked.