Having a Bonfire?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

DampCharcoal

Executive Chef
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
2,525
Location
Johnstown, Ohio
Living on 3/4 acre in the country, I enjoy having a bonfire on occasion with family, friends and co-workers. You know, typical weekend get-together with adult beverages, food and music. I learned recently that the EPA passed a new law in Ohio that states that a "bonfire" cannot be any larger than 2 feet by 2 feet and burned only between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm. I couldn't find anything on the EPA website to confirm that but I did get the information from my dad who is a Columbus firefighter. It's not like I burn a huge pile of tractor tires or anything, just dead wood found on the property. Does anyone know anything about this (Sierra, you out there?) Bonfires are pretty common in the country, if anything, just to get rid of extra wood. We've had problems with the EPA at the golf course I work at as we routinely burn large piles of wood from storm damage and have been harrassed by the EPA. For the most part, I think the EPA is a good organization but there are also many things they do that are just plain dumb.
 

amber

Executive Chef
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
4,099
Location
USA,Maine
Two feet square is not what I consider a bonfire:LOL: I would ask your father where he found that specific information from the EPA. Also, legally speaking, you should obtain a permit to have a bonfire so the fire department is aware and can react quickly should they need to. Hopefully you have a fire hydrant near your house. When we had bonfires, we would make sure our hose was hooked up just in case it got out of hand.
 

DampCharcoal

Executive Chef
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
2,525
Location
Johnstown, Ohio
The local firehouse no longer has anything to do with bonfires, they just refer me to the nearest EPA branch. Also, the closest fire hydrant is 4 miles away but I do have a hose at the ready just in case. I'll have to do a bit more research, I suppose.
 

kitchenelf

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
19,722
Location
North Carolina
Build a really big charcoal pit for the purpose of cooking - kinda like bonfire size - would that be the same as a bonfire? I know I'm reaching but I'm trying to find a way around this lol
 

DampCharcoal

Executive Chef
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
2,525
Location
Johnstown, Ohio
There was a misunderstanding! According to my dad and the station Captain, a bonfire can be unlimited in size ONLY if all the fuel (wood) is gathered from the property. There is also no time limit on the fire. I'm still not sure why the EPA would be concerned with gathering wood from adjacent properties, besides trespassing and what-not but even then, where would the EPA have jurisdiction? :? Anywho, at least that issue was cleared up! :D
 

norgeskog

Washing Up
Joined
Aug 28, 2004
Messages
3,615
Location
Eugene, Oregon
DampCharcoal said:
There was a misunderstanding! According to my dad and the station Captain, a bonfire can be unlimited in size ONLY if all the fuel (wood) is gathered from the property. There is also no time limit on the fire. I'm still not sure why the EPA would be concerned with gathering wood from adjacent properties, besides trespassing and what-not but even then, where would the EPA have jurisdiction? :? Anywho, at least that issue was cleared up! :D

DC, I guess a word to the wise would be if you trespass to 'borrow' the wood, invite the borrowee to join you for the festivities.
 

middie

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
16,261
Location
Cleveland,Ohio USA
Oooooooooh I LOVE bonfires. We have them nearly every weekend weather permitting spring-fall. Fire Dept here says it can only be 2 by 2 in an appropriate container.. .We use a steel barrel drum. No burning of deasoned wood etc. Only thing is we have to get a fire permit everytime we have one. No biggie go on Friday the permit's good the whole weekend.
 

Lugaru

Sous Chef
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Messages
857
Location
Body: Boston Heart: Mexico
I love bonfires too. As kids we would make HUGE ones and try to outlast all the other bonfires on the beach (we won 90% of the time). Best part was giving it a little blow in the morning and watching it catch on fire again.
 

crewsk

Master Chef
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
9,367
Location
Columbia, SouthCarolina
Around here we don't have to have a permit or anything. We have a huge brush pile in the back yard that we build up through the winter & fall & then we burn it several times spring through fall. I can't wait until we burn it!!
 

SierraCook

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
5,580
Location
Sierra Valley, Northern California, USA
Here are some of the rules and regulations for California. I have more input my next post.

SC ;-)

California Campfire permits are required beginning May 1st of each year until the officially declared end of fire season. Permits are required for charcoal fires, stoves and campfires outside of developed recreation areas (campground or picnic area).


Permits are available free at any Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or California Department of Forestry Office.


Remember that regulations governing campfires are specific to each National Forest and change with weather conditions and the seasons. Before each visit check with the Forest Service for current campfire restrictions.


Building and Putting Out a Campfire

smokeystanding.gif
Clear all flammable material away from the fire for a minimum of five feet in all directions and select a level spot a safe distance away from trees, overhead branches, bushes, dry grass or logs to prevent escape of the fire



Have a shovel available at the campfire site for preparing and extinguishing campfires.


Have a responsible person in attendance at all times. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.


Extinguish campfire with water, using the drown, stir and feel method.


Dooryard Trash Burning

burnpile_small.gif
Permits are required beginning May 1st of each year until the officially declared end of fire season, and are available free at your local Forest Service or California Department of Forestry Office.

Burn only during hours specified on the permit, don't burn on windy dry days, keep small 4 foot piles.

Have an adult in attendance at all times, and a shovel and water on site.
 
Last edited:

SierraCook

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
5,580
Location
Sierra Valley, Northern California, USA
I would recommend anyone that is going to do any burning for a bonfire or other reasons to get a burning permit. Your local fire department can issue them or direct to where you can get one. They will explain all the terms of the permit and where and when you can burn or have a fire. They also will explain the type and size of clearance needed and any other requirements.

In California we have to call the local air quality board to find out if it is a permissive burn day. The CA Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection may restrict burning due to extreme weather ie windy or dry conditions. That is the same reason the Forest Service restricts campfires in the National Forests.

Please be careful when you have any type of open flame. All it takes is one spark to ruin your favorite vacation spot for yourself and others for many years to come or burn down your house and many others. :cry:
 
Last edited:

DampCharcoal

Executive Chef
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
2,525
Location
Johnstown, Ohio
Great info, thanks Sierra! I still have a massive pile of branches from the Christmas storm that need to be burned so I may just say EPA be d*****d and light the sucker up. If they show up, I'll try and plead ignorance.

BTW, my family and I were in Yellowstone during the summer of '88 and I have a bunch of pictures of the park burning, if you're interested.
 

mish

Washing Up
Joined
Oct 4, 2004
Messages
4,355
Wow, Damp. Can't imagine a BONFIRE, living in so. california. Everything is so dry, there are strict rules about even smoking a cig in our beautiful forrest/parks areas. So much land has been ravaged by fire here. When the heavy rains come, we are faced with mudslides, earthquakes, losing homes & much devastation. Perhaps the terraine & location might dictate the rules of one's environment. High fire warnings? are handed out by park rangers often when entering campsites/forrest areas. We are very careful. There were so many breathtaking, lush areas, that were destroyed. I miss all the great natural beauty of camptsites & waterfalls, that are probably now gone. Just me, but, I would never miss or experienced a big blazing fire.

I'd be happy to cook on a provided grill & not worry about the people who destroy our land.
 

DampCharcoal

Executive Chef
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
2,525
Location
Johnstown, Ohio
I understand the stiff fire resctrictions in Cali, Mish. Ohio is a much different world when it comes to fire. Forest fires just don't happen here. The weather here is such that 99% of the time we can light a huge bonfire and have no worries, especially where I live. My property is part of a large, natural catch basin (actually an ancient lake bed) that collects run-off from the neighboring fields. It's ALWAYS wet here! I guess it's a trade off. I'd trade bonfires for the Southern California weather and beaches! :D

Oh, and the mosquito problem here is down right ridiculous! :LOL: :roll:
 
Last edited:

mish

Washing Up
Joined
Oct 4, 2004
Messages
4,355
I'll bring the marshmallows & bug spray. You can bring the suntan lotion. :LOL: BTW, does that have something to do with your screen name? We used to have a thread re what does your name mean. Anyhew, your local sounds pretty romantic to me.
 

SierraCook

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
5,580
Location
Sierra Valley, Northern California, USA
DampCharcoal said:
Great info, thanks Sierra! I still have a massive pile of branches from the Christmas storm that need to be burned so I may just say EPA be d*****d and light the sucker up. If they show up, I'll try and plead ignorance.

BTW, my family and I were in Yellowstone during the summer of '88 and I have a bunch of pictures of the park burning, if you're interested.

DC, I would be interested in your pictures of the Yellowstone Fires. My brother went to Yellowstone as his first major fire assignment. He was just out of high school in '88 and joined a fire crew for the summer. The Tahoe Hotshots were down a crewmember and they asked him to join them. Little did he know that he was going to get the experience of his life.
 

thumpershere2

Head Chef
Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
1,285
Location
USA,Minnesota
Well just another way for the goverment to run the lives of tax payers. Have the bon fire, your not burning trash, your burning wood. If you live with in the city limits then you will have a problem with their laws as well. usually can't burn certin times hten. We live in the city limits and we have bon fires all the time.
 

buckytom

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 19, 2004
Messages
21,933
Location
My mountain
crewsk said:
Around here we don't have to have a permit or anything. We have a huge brush pile in the back yard that we build up through the winter & fall & then we burn it several times spring through fall. I can't wait until we burn it!!


grrrrrr, i wish everyone that burned leaves would just make a compost pile and use it in their gardens. besides all of the worms you can dig out of it for fishing, it is great fertilizer, and the air doesn't need any extra pollution. i know it's fun to burn things :evil: , but leaves are so good in compost that it seems a waste.
 
Top Bottom