By Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone
Gorgeous spring weather is upon us and will only get better as temperatures are predicted to soar into the 80’s this week with plenty of sun. In turn the aroma of grilled cuisine and bonfires is certain to be in abundance. On that note, Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone would like to pass along a few tips on safe burning and disposal of outdoor recreational waste, such as ashes and flammable liquid containers.
“The Merrill Fire Department provides fire protection to the City of Merrill and the Towns of Merrill, Rock Falls and Scott. The city and the townships have different rules when it comes to open burning. The common thread in both areas of service is that the ability to burn is based on the burning restrictions set by the State of Wisconsin DNR Fire Managers. The DNR managers set the fire restrictions daily, based on the current and predicted fire danger for the day and post that information daily at 11 AM on the DNR web site (dnr.wi.gov/wisburn).”
“Open burning is regulated by the City of Merrill ordinances. Within the City of Merrill open burnin is defined as burning done outside of a structure.”
“Open burning is prohibited in the city limits without first obtaining a permit from the Fire Chief, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions include small outdoor fires used for cooking, or fires used as parts of a public ceremony. Fires are also allowed in pits, encircled with nonflammable materials, fire rings or commercially built fire containers with a maximum diameter of 42 inches located at least ten feet from any lot line and any structure. Fires shall be extinguished by 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.”
“Special fires or bonfires as allowed only by a permit issued by the Fire Chief. Before starting any fire, a permit authorizing the fire shall first be obtained from the Fire Chief. Open burning permits (within the city limits) are issued at the Merrill Fire Station, 110 Pier Street. All open burning shall be performed in a safe, pollution-free manner, when wind and weather conditions are such as to minimize adverse effects, and in conformance with local and state fire protection regulations. Permitted fires shall have the size of the piles of material to be burned shall not exceed four feet in any direction measured horizontally, or three feet measured vertically. The pile of material being burned shall be at least 50 feet away from any structure, wood or lumber pile, wooden fence, tree or bush.”
“Open burning shall be supervised by a competent person of at least 16 years of age until the fire is extinguished. The competent person shall have available tools and equipment to use for total control of the fire while burning and/or extinguishing such fire. Any ashes created by burning such material are to be disposed of in a environmentally safe manner.”
Other notes of interest for open burning: If a fire becomes out of control, you may be charged a suppression fee. You will be held responsible for any smoke or fire damage caused to anyone one else or their property caused by your controlled or uncontrolled fire. If complaints are received by the Merrill Fire Department, you will be asked to extinguish the fire, if you refuse to extinguish the fire, it will be extinguished by the fire department. The Merrill Fire Department will make any final decisions as it relates to opening burning in the City of Merrill.”