Recreational Fires

Many residents enjoy backyard campfires. Recreational fires are permitted within the corporate limits of the City of Waconia. For your safety and that of your neighbors, the City Council has established Section 710.04 in the Waconia City Code Regulating recreational fires.

The complete ordinance can be found under Ordinance 710.04 (PDF). For questions or more information, contact the Waconia Volunteer Fire Department at 952-442-2316, leave a message and your call will be returned.

For the purposes of this Section, the following definitions shall apply:
  • “Recreational fire” means a fire set for cooking, warming, or ceremonial purposes, which is not more than 3 feet in diameter or 3 feet by 3 feet square, nor more than 3 feet high and has had the ground surrounding the fire cleared of all combustible material.
  • “Starter Fuels” means dry, untreated, unpainted wood or charcoal fire starter. Paraffin candles, paper, clean cardboard or charcoal lighter fluid are permitted as starter fuels and as aids to ignition only.
  • “Wood” means dry, clean fuel only such as twigs, branches, limbs, presto logs, charcoal, cord word or untreated dimensional lumber. The term “wood” does not include wood that is green, with leaves or needles, rotten, wet, oil soaked, or treated with paint, glue or preservatives. Clean pallets may be used for recreational fires when cut into 3 foot sections.
Site Requirements
Site requirements for a recreational fire shall include an area of no more than a 3 foot diameter circle or 3 foot by 3 foot square, measured from the inside of the fire ring or border, completely surrounded by noncombustible and non-smoke or odor-producing material, either of natural rock, cement, brick, tile or block, or ferrous metal only and which area is depressed below ground, on the ground, or on a raised bed. Included with the provisions of this section are permanent outdoor wood burning fireplaces.

Recreational fire sites shall not be located closer than 15 feet to any structure or any closer than 10 feet from an adjacent property line.

A responsible person shall attend the recreational fire 100% of the time and have means to extinguish the fire readily available. Children and pets must be supervised when near a recreational fire.

Burning Requirements
When a fire is used for recreational purposes, it must be:
  • Ignited with approved starter fuels using dry clean wood
  • Producing little detectable smoke, odor or soot beyond the property line
  • Conducted with an adult tending the fire at all times
  • Extinguished completely prior to leaving the location
  • Respecting weather conditions, neighbors, burning bans, and air quality so that nuisance health or safety hazards will not be created
Mobile cooking devices such as manufactured hibachis, charcoal grills, wood smokers, and propane or natural gas devices are not recreational fires.

Ashes and other remains from a recreational fire shall be disposed of properly in an approved non-combustible container.

Recreational fires must be immediately extinguished upon the direction of law enforcement or Fire Department personnel.

Burning Prohibitions
  • Burning barrels are not acceptable containers for recreational fires.
  • Burning of trash, leaves, treated wood, rubbish or hazardous material or waste is prohibited in recreational fires.
  • Any smoke generated from a recreational fire that becomes a nuisance or irritant shall be due cause to extinguish the fire, regardless of the fuel source.
  • No recreational fire will be permitted when the city, county, or DNR has officially declared a burning ban due to potential hazardous fire conditions or when the MPCA has declared an air quality alert.
Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be liable for all costs incurred as a result of such violation and, in addition, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, such person shall be punished by a fine and/or imprisonment as set forth in Section 102 of this code. Conviction of a misdemeanor shall not preclude the city or other governmental agencies from exercising any additional means available to recoup any cost expended or incurred as a result of a violation of this section.