Ask a Sheriff: With the early spring this year, can I have an open fire to clean up my yard?
Grass fires and unlawful fires can pose a serious threat to life and property in Sherburne County. Because of this, almost all open fires require a burning permit.
You are not required to obtain a burning permit if the ground is snow covered. By definition, snow covered means that the ground has a continuous unbroken cover of snow, to a depth of three inches or more, surrounding the immediate area of the fire, sufficient to keep the fire from spreading.
You also do not need a burning permit when you have a fire in an approved burner (i.e. burning barrels) and it is in use between 6 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. For a fire in an approved burner without a permit there should be no combustible material within five feet of the base of the burner.
Finally, a campfire does not require a burning permit. “Campfire” means a fire set for cooking, warming, or ceremonial purposes, which is not more than three feet in diameter by three feet high, and has had the ground five feet from the base of the fire cleared of all combustible material.
All other fires require a burning permit. Burning permits can be obtained from a DNR forestry office or any fire warden.
The DNR institutes burning permit restrictions in the fire prone portions of the state each spring. During this period of traditionally high fire danger, burning permits are not issued.
Under extremely dry conditions, the Commissioner of Natural Resources, or another unit of government, may declare a “burning ban” for a specified area within the state. When this occurs, not only existing permits are canceled and new permits not issued, but burning in approved burners, recreational fires, and even smoking outdoors may be prohibited, depending on the fire danger. This action is generally taken when fire conditions become extreme across a broad area of the state (for example, a number of counties or large geographic region).
If you have questions about burning or open fires, you can contact the Sheriff’s Office or your local DNR office or Fire Warden.–Sheriff Joel Brott