Recreational Fire Standards

As the temperature gets cooler, more residents become interested in spending time outdoors during the evening hours and for many of you that means having recreational fires on personal property. Before you put match to firewood, it is a good idea to review the standards and guidelines for having a recreational fire.

Minnesota State Fire Code

Minnesota State Fire Code (MSFC) regarding recreational fires, states:

  • Recreational fires must be at least 25 feet from all buildings or combustible materials. Combustible materials are things such as wood, paper, and plastics.
  • Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.
  • Recreational fires must be constantly attended until the fire burns out completely or is extinguished.
  • A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with MSFC (07) Section 906 with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, or garden hose shall be readily available at all times until the fire is extinguished. Examples of other approved fire extinguishing equipment would be a charged garden hose, dirt, or sand (and a means of applying it).
  • The only materials permitted in a recreational fire are wood from trees, small branches, brush, or charcoal. Treated lumber materials, construction debris, garbage, plastic materials, or waste materials are not allowed to be burned in recreational fires.
  • Recreational fires must be immediately extinguished if they pose a fire safety risk, if they are not in compliance with the above, or when directed to do so by a police officer, firefighter, fire warden, or a Department of Natural Resources officer.
  • The MSFC (07) does not contain any regulations for immediate extinguishment if the smoke from a recreational fire is a nuisance to an adjoining property.

Minnesota Statute

Minnesota Statute defines a campfire as:

"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.