Open Burning / Burn Permits

Open Burning Recreational Burning
Medically Restricted Burning Ordinance Obtaining a Burn Permit


Independence Township has an ordinance regarding the open burning of yard waste and has also recently instituted an ordinance restricting open burning in designated areas for documented medical reasons. The following is a general guideline for the two types of burning; Open Burning and Recreational Burning, and provides an overview of the Medically Restricted Burning ordinance.

Open Burning

Open Burning is defined as the burning of yard waste, tree trimmings, paper, or scrap wood where the contents are burned in an open area, with the intent of eliminating the material.

  • Open burning is allowed by permit only.
  • Open burning is allowed during the following times:
    • Summer Hours - April 1st thru November 30th, 8am to 8pm
    • Winter Hours - December 1st thru March 31st, 8am to 6pm
  • All fires must be completely extinguished after hours (no smoldering). 
  • Parcels of less than 3 acres must follow the burn date calendar on the permit. Parcels larger than 3 acres may burn any day. Regardless of acreage, weather – particularly wind – should be considered prior to burning to prevent fire spread.
  • All materials being burned must be from the site. No materials may be brought to the site for disposal.
  • Open burning shall be constantly attended by a person 14 years of age or older until the fire is extinguished.
  • A source of extinguishment shall be present and adequate during hours of burning.
  • No burning shall be permitted within 50' of any structure. Provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • No burning along roadways.
  • No flammable liquids shall be permitted to ignite the fire (i.e. gasoline, kerosene, starter fluid, etc.).
  • No burning shall be allowed on construction sites.
  • The size of the pile to be burned shall be no larger than 6' diameter.
  • Burning violations may be subject to fines in accordance to Civil Infraction Penalty. First offense may be $75.00, second offense $150.00 and privileges revoked.
  • Campfire permits must be issued by contacting Independence Fire Department at (248) 625-1924. On the day the campfire will occur.
  • Acceptable Burn Items: Dry Leaves, Paper, Brush, Wood scraps.
  • The Independence Fire Department has the right to extingush any fire deemed by Fire Department personnel to be a hazard or nuisance.

Recreational Burning

Recreational Burning is defined as the burning of seasoned wood in a manufactured device, specifically designed for the containment of the fire, with the intent of using the fire for cooking or social purposes.

  • Recreational burning is allowed without permit.
  • A container designed for recreational burning must be used (see examples here).
  • Materials to be burned shall be consistent with firewood, or other seasoned hard wood.
  • All recreational fires shall be tended and extinguished completely when finished.

Medically Restricted Burning Policy

  • It shall be the policy of Independence Township to prohibit the issuance of any open burn permits, or revoke previously issued permits, within 400 feet of any residence whose occupants have a documented serious medical condition that is aggravated or triggered by the exposure to smoke from open burning, unless allowed under the provisions of this policy. The Independence Township Fire Department, as the issuing body for burn permits, shall adhere to this policy when issuing burn permits. This authority is already comprehended under Chapter 20, Fire Prevention and Protection, Article III, Open Burning, subsections 20-59(c)(6) and (d)(4)b, to prohibit burning in certain circumstances even after a permit has been issued. SPECIAL NOTE: This new burn policy does not apply to or prohibit recreational fires in chimineas or fire pots as long as the recreational fires are consistent with the examples.
  • Residents are required to submit documentation from a medical doctor to the Fire Department supporting the diagnosis of a medical condition that is serious and aggravated or triggered by exposure to smoke from open burning. This evidence must be provided annually and will be kept on file with the Fire Department. After filing, all requests for open burning permits will be rejected except for the exemptions within the ordinance.
  • Click here for information, and a full copy of the medically based burn permit restrictions policy.  

Obtaining a Burn Permit

Open burning permits can be applied for, or renewed, at any of the three Independence Township Fire Stations. you can also obtain a burning permit online by clicking here and taking a short quiz.