Outdoor Burning Regulations

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The intent of the City's supplemental burning regulations/policies is to establish minimum requirements that allow persons to conduct burning within the City limits yet provide for the reasonably safe handling of those fires.  The regulations are also intended to ensure that unreasonable amounts of smoke and debris are not produced by the burning.

Adopted Codes
The most recent editions of The National Fire Protection Association – Fire Code 1 and The International Fire Code are adopted by City Ordinance.

Authority for Policy and Interpretation of NFPA / IFC Fire Codes
NFPA 1 The Fort Atkinson Fire Department shall have the authority to prohibit any or all open flames, candles, and open, recreational, and cooking fires or other sources of ignition, or establish special regulations on the use of any form of fire or smoking material where circumstances make such conditions hazardous.  

NFPA 1 1.2* Purpose. The purpose of this Code is to prescribe minimum requirements necessary to establish a reasonable level of fire and life safety and property protection from the hazards created by fire, explosion, and dangerous conditions.

NPFA 1 The Department is authorized to render interpretations of this Code and to make and enforce rules and supplemental regulations in order to carry out the application and intent of its provisions.

IFC 101.3 Intent. The purpose of this code is to establish the minimum requirements consistent with nationally recognized good practice for providing a reasonable level of life safety and property protection from the hazards of fire, explosion or dangerous conditions in new and existing buildings, structures and premises, and to provide a reasonable level of safety to firefighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

IFC 104.1 General. The fire code official is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this code. The fire code official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies, procedures, rules and regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies, procedures, rules and regulations shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies, procedures, rules and regulations shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.

Section of City Ordinance – Chapter 34

Regardless of location or classification of fire, all fires shall be controlled in such a manner that unreasonable amounts of smoke and debris are not produced in the opinion of the AHJ.

Outdoor Burning
Outdoor burning of open fires, recreational fires, and/or cooking fires shall comply with the most recent edition of NFPA 1, IFC, and any applicable supplemental regulations/policies;

Open Fires, Recreational Fires, or Cooking Fires are only allowed with approval from The Fort Atkinson Fire Department

  • Approvals will be considered by The FAFD for such things as burning off small tracts of land for prairie restoration, recreational fires for special events, and open burning in special circumstances provided all conditions and limitations noted by the FAFD are followed.
  • FAFD approval can be requested by contacting The Fort Atkinson Fire Department at 1-920-397-9908. Please be aware that depending upon the situation, a site visit may be required and several days’ notice may be necessary.


  • Listed manufactured grills are allowed to be used throughout the City (without a permit) on any type of property for the cooking of food (including city property) provided;
  • They are used in a manner that does not cause a hazard in the opinion of the AHJ
  • Their use does not violate any applicable code, city ordinance, or supplemental regulation/policy.
  • Grills are not allowed on balconies of multi-family buildings (three units or more) and they must be a minimum of 10 feet from a structure when in use on the ground level)
  • They are located and used according to the manufacturer’s listing and recommendations
  • Recreational and cooking fires are allowed on the properties of one and two-family homes (duplexes) without approval from FAFD if in compliance with the following;
    • Shall not be conducted within 25 feet (7620 mm) of a structure
    • The fire shall be contained in an approved manner such as; a fire ring, a pit, a metal barrel, a listed manufactured device that is intended/designed to contain the fire (such as a clay fireplace (Chiminea)), or other method approved by the FAFD
    • Recreational fires/containment area/device shall not exceed 3 feet in diameter
    • The fuel load shall not exceed 2 feet in height
    • Charcoal, hardwood, dry firewood, and/or dimensional lumber are the only material that is allowed to be burned. The firewood/lumber shall not have been chemically treated, painted, stained, varnished or laminated.  Small branches and tree limbs are acceptable.

Outdoor Fires if allowed;

  • Shall not be conducted within 25 feet (7620 mm) of a structure. IFC
  • Shall be constantly attended by a competent person until such fire is extinguished. NFPA 1
  • Shall have a garden hose connected to the water supply or other fire-extinguishing equipment readily available for use. NFPA 1

Failure to Comply

Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of chapter 34, fails to carry out an order made pursuant to chapter 34, or violates any condition attached to a permit, approval, or certificate shall be subject to the penalties established by the AHJ.  Each violation is subject to a $325.00 penalty.

Examples of fuel/material that is NOT allowed to be burned (list not intended to be all-inclusive)

  • Leaves, grass clippings, garden debris, shrubs, brush, etc.
  • Wood that has been painted, stained, treated, varnished, laminated, etc.
  • Plywood or any type of wood that contains adhesives
  • Recyclable materials, including any type of metals
  • Shingles, rubber, vinyl, or any petroleum-based products
  • Rubbish / trash / garbage
  • Plastics of any kind including foam plastics
  • Electronics / furniture / carpet