Open Burning

Every year the cooler weather brings an increased number of fire incidents as well as questions and complaints involving open burning within the City.  The use of solid fuel fire pits, solid fuel portable outdoor fire places and any other open burning is a violation of City Ordinance 1501 which adopts the International Fire Code.  Portable outdoor fireplaces may be approved in some circumstances for special events if all requirements of the Fire Code can be met.  Formal approval from the Fire Marshal is required prior to the event. 

Propane or Natural Gas outdoor fireplaces are permitted as long as they have an Underwriter’s Laboratory Listing or are certified by a recognized third party certifying agency.   These fireplaces must always be operated per the manufacturer’s instructions.  In instances where the manufacturer’s instructions are not immediately available, the International Fire Code will be used to determine the operating guidelines and clearances to combustible materials.  The basic requirements from the Fire Code mandate the fire place to be located a minimum of 5 feet from any building and 5 feet from ANY combustible material.  The fireplace must also be maintained following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The Fire Department’s policy for dealing with open burn violations is to issue a “Notice of Violation” on the first offense in most instances.  The “Notice of Violation” is kept on record for documentation purposes and no fines are given.  A second offense by the same person or at the same address will result in a non-traffic citation being issued to the offending party resulting in a fine of up to $1000 dollars plus court costs. 

If there are any questions or concerns regarding these regulations please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at Fireprevention@Bethlehem-pa.gov or by calling 610-865-7143