Open Burning Ordinance

Thomas Township has adopted an open burning ordinance.  The ordinance

is written as follows:





3-4- 1:    Title

3-4- 2:    Permits For Open Burning

3-4- 3:    Open Burning Of Certain Materials Prohibited

3-4- 4:    Location Of Open Burning

3-4- 5:    Time And Atmospheric Conditions

3-4- 6:    Fire Extinguishing Equipment

3-4- 7:    Attendance

3-4- 8:    Discontinuance

3-4- 9:    Sanctions For Violation

3-4-10:    Repeal

3-4-11:    Severability

3-4-12:    Effective Date

3-4-1:    TITLE:

This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the
OPEN BURNING ORDINANCE. (Ord. 04-F-01, AMD 95-f-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)

Burning permits are required to conduct all open burning, excluding cooking fires contained within a barbecue pit, fireplace, grill or other receptacle specifically designed for cooking food over an open fire (Section A), or for small recreational fires contained within a pit or approved burning container/ receptacle.

A. Cooking fires, as defined herein do not require a permit. Fires are permitted for the cooking and smoking of food for personal, non commercial uses provided that such fires are confined to a barbecue grill, barbecue pit, fireplace, smokehouse or other enclosure/ receptacle specifically designed for cooking food over an open fire, and provided the emission of smoke and fumes do not irritate, annoy or constitute a nuisance to other property owners in the area.

B. Recreational Fires: Recreational fires on private property in an approved burning container/receptacle specifically manufactured and sold for recreational burning, or in a pit that does not exceed three (3) feet in diameter and two (2) feet above ground level are allowed without a permit provided the following conditions and precautions are taken:

1. The burning shall not be located within fifteen (15′) feet from any structure and twenty (20′) feet from any property line.

2. A responsible adult at least eighteen years of age is present at all times until the extinguished ashes are cold.

3. Only clean wood products are used.

4. The fire does not emit any fumes that irritate, annoy or constitute a nuisance to others.

5. The atmospheric conditions are favorable.

The Fire Chief or his/her designee shall have the authority to terminate any recreational fire that he/she determines to be in an unsafe device, or is an unsafe condition or situation.

Permits may be obtained during normal business hours at the Fire Department office or other public locations as designated by the Fire Chief. (Ord. 04-F-01, amd Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995, eff 01-05-2005)


Open burning of leaves, yard waste, ditch banks, household rubbish, tires, building materials, paper products, or any product that produces smoke emissions that are offensive to the environment or occupants of surrounding properties is prohibited. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)


Open burning of any non prohibited material shall not
be allowed:

1. Within three hundred (300) feet of any structure.

2. No burning if the winds are over ten (10) mph.

3. Burning shall be done in daylight hours only.

4. A responsible adult at least eighteen years of age is present at all times until the extinguished ashes are cold.

5. The emission of smoke and fumes do not irritate, annoy or constitute a nuisance to other property owners in the area. (Ord 04-F-01, and Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff 5-31-1995, eff. 01-05-2005)


All permit-required open burning shall only be allowed during daytime hours, unless specifically permitted by the Fire Chief or his/her designee, and when atmospheric conditions do not cause a fire hazard. The Fire Chief or his/her designee may put a ban on burning if deemed necessary. (Ord. 04-F-01, amd Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff 5-31-1995, eff. 01-05-2005)

A garden hose connected to a water supply or other approved fire-extinguishing equipment (buckets containing water or sand; shovels; fire extinguisher with a minimum 2-a rating) shall be readily available for use at all open burning sites. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)


All open burning shall have a responsible adult at least eighteen years of age present at all times until the extinguished ashes are cold, knowledgeable in the use of fire extinguishment required by this permit, and familiar with the limitations which restrict open burning. (Ord. 04-F-01, amd Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995, eff 01-05-2005)


The Fire Chief or his/her designee is authorized to require that open burning be immediately discontinued if the Chief or his/her designee determines it to constitute a hazardous condition. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)


A.     Any person or other entity who violates any of the provisions of this Ordinance is responsible for  a municipal civil infraction as defined by Michigan law and subject to a civil fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) plus costs, which may include all direct or indirect expenses, to which the Township has been put in connection with the violation. In no case, however, shall costs of less than nine dollars ($9.00) or more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) be ordered. A violator of this Ordinance shall also be subject to such additional sanctions, remedies, and judicial orders as are authorized under Michigan law. Each day a violation of this Ordinance continues to exist constitutes a separate violation.

B.     Any person or entity who violates any of the provisions of this Ordinance and who has been issued a municipal civil infraction violation notice as defined by Ordinance 97-G-011 and who admits responsibility therefore within the time specified thereon shall pay a civil fine and costs at the Thomas Township Municipal Ordinance Violations Bureau in accordance with the schedule of civil fines and costs in section 9 of Ordinance 97-G-012 which is incorporated herein by reference. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995; amd. Ord. 97-G-06, 4-7-1997)

3-4-10:     REPEAL:

All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are repealed to the extent necessary to give this Ordinance full effect. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)

3-4-11:     SEVERABILITY:

This Ordinance and its various parts, sentences and clauses are hereby declared to be severable, and if any part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause is held to be invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of this Ordinance as a whole. (Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995)

3-4-12:     EFFECTIVE DATE:

This Ordinance shall take effect and be in force thirty (30) days after its adoption and publication thereof. (Ord. 04-F-01, amd Ord. 95-F-01, 5-1-1995, eff. 5-31-1995, eff. 1-5-2005)