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Recreational Fire Reminders for Cedar Rapids Residents

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Cedar Rapids Fire Department would like to remind citizens of guidelines for recreational fires within the City.  Recreational fires are a popular activity, whether it is sitting around an outdoor fire or cooking hot dogs.

From March 1 through June 13, 2019, firefighters have been dispatched to 53 possible illegal recreational fires.  49 of the 53 fires were found to be illegal and required extinguishment.  The most common violations involved people burning trash and yard waste.  Other common violations included unattended fires, burning too close to a structure and too large of a fuel load.

Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure like a house, garage, or shed or near combustible materials.  The distance from a structure can be reduced to a 15 feet minimum if the unit has complete protection with a lid and screen.  The total fuel area needs to be 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less for fuel height.  An attendant needs to stay with the fire constantly and continue to supervise until the fire is extinguished.  The attendant should have buckets, shovels, garden hoses, or a fire extinguisher readily available for use.

Contaminated or treated wood should never be burned.  These materials contain derivatives of arsenic or cyanide and produce poisonous gases. 

The following items are not allowed to be burned within the City limits:

·         Leaves

·         Tires

·         Tar

·         Paint

·         Grass

·         Dead Animals

·         Contaminated Wood

·         Used Oil

·         Garbage

·         Rubber Products

·         Brush Piles

·         Plastic


Children should not be allowed to play around a fire.  Use common sense and respect your neighbors by not allowing smoke to blow towards their home or laundry, for example.  Recreational fires are not safe when winds exceed 15 mph.  Yard waste should be properly disposed of in a Yardy cart, for example.

If the Fire Department determines that a hazardous condition exists, firefighters can require extinguishment.   If a burn ban is issued throughout Linn County, recreational fires would be prohibited. (Currently, there is not a burn ban for Linn County.)

At the Fire Department Open House on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. firefighter crews will demonstrate the safe and legal way to have an outdoor recreational fire and attendees will have the opportunity to win an outdoor recreational fire package.

For more information about recreational fires, contact the Cedar Rapids Fire Marshal’s Office at (319) 286-5166.


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