Recreational Fires

Rec. Fire Final Graphic


Recreational Fires (No permit needed)

Recreational fires are defined as an outdoor fire where wood from trees, small branches, brush, or charcoal is burned for the purpose of pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth, or similar purposes. Unless the fire is contained within an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit it shall not exceed a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height. Recreational fires do not require a permit under the Minnesota State Fire Code, but the following conditions must be met:

  1. Recreational fires must be at least 25 feet from all buildings or combustible materials. Combustible materials are things such as wood, paper, and plastics. Portable outdoor fireplaces have a slightly different requirement and must be a least 15 feet from all combustibles and follow manufactures safety requirements. More detailed information on portable outdoor fireplaces can be found below.
  2. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure should be eliminated prior to burning.
  3. Recreational fires shall not be located within 10 feet from stationary/fixed LP-Gas containers.
  4. The fire must be constantly attended.
  5. A garden hose hooked to a reliable water source or a fire extinguisher with a 4A rating must be immediately accessible.
  6. The wood or charcoal should be dry to lessen the smoke being produced. Prohibited materials include treated lumber, leaves, construction debris, garbage, plastic material, and yard waste.
  7. The Fire Department may order extinguishment at any time, if it is determined that it presents a nuisance or hazard.

What may be enjoyable for you may not be enjoyable for your neighbors. Be a good neighbor and don't have a recreational fire on breezy days that will spread the smoke through the neighborhood or your neighbor’s house.

    For more information, view the Recreational Fires Information Sheet provided by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.

    Portable Outdoor Fireplaces (No permit needed)

    Portable Outdoor Fireplaces are defined as a portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other noncombustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening in the top. Portable outdoor fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. They must also comply with items 2 through 7 for recreational fires above.

    Bonfires (Permit required)

    Large outdoor fire specifically for community groups activities, special events, and the like. A permit must be obtained from the Fire Department (see Permits section below).

    Open Burning (Permit required)

    Outdoor burning of natural vegetation is permitted for the disposal of branches, and natural vegetative material under certain circumstances along river lots and in the Oakport subdivision. Permits are free, valid for up to 2 months and available online.

    Open burning permits allow the burning of dried leaves only in the Oakport subdivision from September 15th to December 1st. This in accordance Minnesota Statute 116.082 and Moorhead City Code 3-3-4. If the fire department deems that the conditions present a hazard and/or nuisance, the permit can be retracted. No open burning of leaves shall take place during an air pollution alert, warning, or emergency declared by the city of Moorhead Fire Department.


    Permits are available at the Fire Department Annex, 111 12 St N. Call 218.299.5298 or stop by for more information.