Local fire dept. warns of recreational burning

GALESBURG, Ill. (NEWS3) – As the seasons start to change and the weather warms up, a local fire department wants to remind residents of recreational burning and regulations.

Galesburg Fire Department Chief Randy Hovid said it’s important for the community to remember when trash and leaves are burned, many harmful chemicals are produced and released into the air. He said these chemicals are toxic to the environment, especially people, animals and plants.

Recreational fire rules in the City of Galesburg:

  • There are two types of recreational fires.
    • Those in an outdoor fireplace or fire pit do not require a permit.
    • Recreational fires on the ground require a permit from the Galesburg Fire Department provided free of charge.
  • Only dry seasoned firewood shall be burned. This means the wood has no greenery (leaves or growth) and may not be longer than 24 inches when used.
  • Household waste, landscape waste, garbage, refuse, construction waste or materials, or hazardous waste shall not be burned as fuel in any recreational fire.
  • All outdoor fireplaces shall be constructed of brick, metal, clay, or other non-combustible materials commercially manufactured and specifically designed for the purpose of recreational fires.
  • Outdoor fireplaces shall have at least five feet of clearance from walls and fencing. They also shall not be placed on combustible landscaping (bark, wood chips or mulch)
  • Outdoor fire pits are ground level units constructed on-site by the owner/occupant.
  • Pits shall have a minimum of 10 feet of clearance from the edge of the pit to buildings, property lines or other combustible material.
  • The opening of the pit shall not exceed two feet.
  • The sides of the pit shall be enclosed and constructed of bricks, concrete blocks, heavy gauge metal, or other non-combustible materials acceptable to the Fire Chief or his designee. The height of the enclosure shall be a minimum of two feet from grade.
  • When requesting a permit for fire on the ground, also known as a wiener roast permit, the Galesburg Fire Department will inspect the site and provide you with a copy of the rules and permit.
  • A garden hose attached to a water supply or other approved fire extinguishing device must be readily available at the location of the recreational fire.
  • The fire must be attended at all times by a person over 18 years in age.
  • The fire must be extinguished if it becomes offensive to others or if not under supervision by an adult.
  • All fires are subject to extinguishment at the direction of the Fire or Police Departments.
  • Violations of the Recreational Burning Regulations may result in a minimum fine of $75 per occurrence

The department wants to prevent a tragedy when recreational burning. Especially when there is a failure to keep anything combustible from a distance when burning.

“We want to put out a friendly reminder to the citizens to help keep them safe,” Hovid said. “We don’t like writing tickets but more importantly, we want people to understand the hazards associated with burning anything other than dry seasoned firewood.”

If you have any questions, contact the Galesburg Fire Department at 309-345-3717.

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