Watertown Fire Rescue reminds residents of Open Burning Ordinance

April 20, 2020

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Watertown Fire Rescue (WFR) responded to several calls within the city limits of residents burning garden debris and yard waste on Sunday April 19th, 2020. WFR would like to remind residents that it is illegal to open burn within city limits. Residents are not allowed to burn leaves, branches, or garden waste. These items should be placed in the green yard waste container. The green yard waste container can be purchased from the Watertown Landfill for $55.38.

City Ordinance 13.0316 “Open Burning”

1. Open burning is the burning of a bonfire, recreational fire, rubbish fire, or other fire in an outdoor location where fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace or barbecue grill.

2. Permits are required for open burning from the Fire Chief of the Fire Department.

3. Recreational fires are not required to be permitted but shall be regulated as follows:

a. A recreational fire is the burning of cut trees, charcoal, or commercial fire logs, with a total fuel area of three (3) feet or less in diameter and two (2) feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, or similar purposes.
b. A recreational fire must be contained in an earthen pit with sidewalls, fireplace, or other device, which must be capable of containing the fire.
c. A recreational fire may not be located within ten (10) feet from any structure and may not be located within ten (10) feet from any property line.
d. Commercially produced outdoor fireplaces may be used for recreational fires provided manufacturer’s recommendations are followed.
e. A fire extinguisher, garden hose or other instrumentation capable of immediately extinguishing a recreational fire must be available at all times during burning.
f. The provisions of this subsection shall not be deemed to apply to any commercially operated campground or any campground licensed by the South Dakota Department of Health or operated by the State of South Dakota.
g. Commercial gas, propane or charcoal grills, when used for cooking purposes, are not considered recreational fires for the purposes of this ordinance.
4. All open burning fires, and recreational fires must be attended by an adult during any time combustion is occurring.

5. If any open burning fire or recreational fire results in a sustainable complaint by adjacent residents or property owners; or poses a threat to persons or property, the Fire Department or other law enforcement personnel may order the property owner to extinguish the fire. In the event the property owner refuses or fails to obey a lawful command to extinguish any fire, the Fire Department may extinguish the fire and a citation may be issued.