2011 Oct. 24: MN Minneapolis: (Fire pits) CITY HALL UPDATE // City Council passes new regulations for …
… to start a recreational fire, but they must meet city code that requires fire pits … said about 75 percent of particulate matter in the air comes from …
Council takes aim at recreational fires
The Minneapolis Public Health, Safety and Civil Rights Committee has begun looking into new regulations that would crack down on residential fires.
Ward 10 Council Member Meg Tuthill and other council members are asking two citizen committees to look into, among other things, the possibility of requiring residents to get a sign-off from their neighbors or get a permit from the Fire Department before starting a blaze.
“I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what we should do in the city,” Tuthill said.
Minneapolis residents currently do not need a permit to start a recreational fire, but they must meet city code that requires fire pits to be smaller than 3 feet across, flames lower than 2 feet high and a pit more than 25 feet from any structure. Fires aren’t allowed when the wind is blowing more than 10 miles per hour and after 10 p.m.
But Tuthill, as well as Assistant Fire Chief Dave DeWall, said many residents complain about smoke, especially those with asthma.
The city’s environmental staff, citing federal Environmental Protection Agency air monitoring data, said about 75 percent of particulate matter in the air comes from burning fossil fuels, and about 7 percent comes from biomass.
In 2010, the Fire Department received 426 calls about residential burning, up 19 percent from 2007, when the department fielded 344 calls.
Tuthill also raised concerns over old homes in Minneapolis, and the risk they’re at when fires are burning nearby.
The committee referred the issue to the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee and the Public Health Advisory Committee.