Want a backyard fire in Grand Rapids this weekend? Get a permit and learn the rules

Posted at 4:53 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 16:53:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A nice weekend ahead means that many of you may be thinking about a backyard fire.

This year, there is a change in regulations for people living in the city of Grand Rapids. They are now legal inside the city, but there are some rules to follow.

Grand Rapids Fire Marshall Ric Dokter explained the rules to FOX 17 Friday.

First, you have to get a permit. You can apply for one online on the City of Grand Rapids website here. The permit costs $50.

To qualify for a permit, you have to have at least 5,000 square feet of property and the fire must be contained in a portable, elevated pit.  Brick fire pits are not allowed.

Then the fire must be at least 20 feet from the edge of your lot and 20 feet away from buildings.  It also has to be 15 feet or more away from any overhead wires.  You also have to have a way to extinguish the fire if necessary.  Also, only seasoned, dry firewood can be burned.

And one more thing - the two homes to your right, to your left and behind you must give consent.

So far, 54 people have applied for permits and only 25 have been issued.

The penalty for burning without a permit is $150 for your first infraction.  Police responded to 25 complaints of unauthorized burns in April already.

Burning will also be prohibited on Clear Air Action Days and any days that the state of Michigan has statewide burning bans.