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Burn Ban Rescinded; Important Reminders about Recreational Fires

Burn Ban Rescinded; Important Reminders about Recreational Fires

March 1, 2021

The burn ban in Cedar Rapids that has been in effect since August 17, 2020 has been rescinded.  The August 10, 2020 derecho caused significant damage to our community, including damage to property and much of our city’s tree canopy.  As a result, there was a large amount of debris that needed to be collected.  Tree debris posed a significant fire risk in our community and many homes had plastic tarps over large sections of the roof as home owners waited for repairs. The burn ban was in effect because of the concern that a spark from a recreational fire could unnecessarily endanger others. 

While there is still more work to do in our community, the fire risk has decreased significantly with the success of the debris cleanup efforts.  The Fire Department would still like to remind citizens that only recreational fires are allowed in the city limits.  All other types of burns require a permit. 

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department would like to remind citizens of guidelines for recreational fires within the city.  Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure like a house, garage, or shed or near combustible materials.  The distance from a structure can be reduced to a 15 feet minimum if the unit has complete protection with a lid and screen.  The total fuel area needs to be 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less for fuel height.  An attendant needs to stay with the fire constantly and continue to supervise until the fire is extinguished.  The attendant should have buckets, shovels, garden hoses, or a fire extinguisher readily available for use. 

Contaminated or treated wood should never be burned.  These materials contain derivatives of arsenic or cyanide and produce poisonous gases.  

The following items are not allowed to be burned within the City limits: brush piles, contaminated wood, dead animals, garbage, grass, leaves, rubber products, paint, plastic, tar, tires, and used oil. 

Children should not be allowed to play around a fire.  Use common sense and respect your neighbors by not allowing smoke to blow towards their home or laundry, for example.  Recreational fires are not safe when winds exceed 15 mph.  Yard waste should be properly disposed of in a Yardy cart, for example. 

If the Fire Department determines that a hazardous condition exists, firefighters can require extinguishment.   If a burn ban is issued throughout Linn County, recreational fires would be prohibited. 

For more information about recreational fires, contact the Cedar Rapids Fire Marshal’s Office at (319) 286-5166.


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