Ask an Official: MFD discusses open burning
This week’s featured question was submitted for the Merrill Fire Department:
“Is there anything against burning trash in the city limits in a burn barrel? Like between certain hours or days or whatever, or what can and can’t be burned? Do I need a permit and how much is it?
Answer as given by MFD Battalion Chief Scott Krause:
“The Merrill Fire Department provides fire protection to the City of Merrill and the Towns of Merrill, Rock Falls and Scott. The city and the townships have different rules when it comes to open burning. The common thread in both areas of service is that the ability to burn is based on the burning restrictions set by the State of Wisconsin DNR Fire Managers. The DNR managers set the fire restrictions daily, based on the current and predicted fire danger for the day and post that information daily at 11 a.m. on the DNR web site (dnr.wi.gov/wisburn).
“Open burning is regulated by the City of Merrill ordinances. Within the City of Merrill open burning; this is defined as burning done outside of a structure. Open burning is prohibited in the city limits without first obtaining a permit from the Fire Chief, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions include small outdoor fires used for cooking, or fires used as parts of a public ceremony. Fires are also allowed in pits, encircled with nonflammable materials, fire rings or commercially built fire containers with a maximum diameter of 42 inches located at least 10 feet from any lot line and any structure. Fires shall be extinguished by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Special fires or bonfires as allowed only by a permit issued by the Fire Chief. Before starting any fire, a permit authorizing the fire shall first be obtained from the Fire Chief. Open burning permits (within the city limits) are issued at the Merrill Fire Station, 110 Pier St. All open burning shall be performed in a safe, pollution-free manner, when wind and weather conditions are such as to minimize adverse effects, and in conformance with local and state fire protection regulation. Permitted fires shall have the size of the piles of material to be burned shall not exceed four feet in any direction measured horizontally, or three feet measured vertically. The pile of material being burned shall be at least 50 feet away from any structure, wood or lumber pile, wooden fence, tree or bush.
“Open burning shall be supervised by a competent person of at least 16 years of age until the fire is extinguished. The competent person shall have available tools and equipment to use for total control of the fire while burning and/or extinguishing such fire. Any ashes created by burning such material are to be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
“Other notes of interest for open burning: If a fire becomes out of control, you may be charged a suppression fee. You will be held responsible for any smoke or fire damage caused to anyone one else or their property caused by your controlled or uncontrolled fire. If complaints are received by the Merrill Fire Department, you will be asked to extinguish the fire, if you refuse to extinguish the fire, it will be extinguished by the fire department. The Merrill Fire Department will make any final decisions as it relates to opening burning in the City of Merrill.
“The open burning rules and regulations for the three townships within the Merrill Fire Department response area, Town of Merrill, Town of Rock Falls and Town of Scott are regulated by the State of Wisconsin DNR burn permit process.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to firstname.lastname@example.org along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell, Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Jason Hake, Lincoln County Forestry Land and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, Local DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.