Open Burning Regulations

On this page are guidelines for open burning in the City of Emporia (only). This is a quick reference guide for open burning, bonfires, and recreational fires.

For more information, call Fire Station 1 at 620-343-4230.

Open Burning


The burning of materials where products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber. Open burning does not include road flares, smudgepots and similar devices associated with safety or occupational uses typically considered open flames or recreational fires.

307.1.1 Prohibited Open Burning

Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited.

307.1.2 Materials Restrictions

Open burning is restricted to leaves and landscape waste only


Open burning shall not be conducted:

  1. Between 7 pm and 7 am
  2. When wind speed exceeds 15 miles per hour
  3. Within any commercial zone as defined by the zoning ordinances of the city
  4. You must be 50 feet from any structure
  5. If in a approved container then 15 feet from any structure
  6. Must be constantly attended
  7. Must have a means of extinguishment
  8. You must call before and after

307.4 Location

Open burning shall not be conducted upon any street or alley open to vehicular traffic or upon a sidewalk of the city.

Section 307.3

Section 307.3 of the International Fire Code (IFC) gives the fire code official authority to order the extinguishment of open burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation. Authority is extended to command.

This type of fire would be the burning of leaves and or branches in a persons yard. Also the burning of grass for the purpose of controlling weeds.



An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes.

307.4.1 Bonfires

A bonfire shall not be conducted within 50 feet of a structure or combustible material unless the fire is contained in a barbecue pit. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 50 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

This is the only permissible fire we will issue a permit for. Examples are the high school and Emporia State University homecoming bonfires. The fire department will provide a truck for bonfires. It is at the Officer in Charge whether conditions at the time of the fire are safe enough to allow the event to proceed.

Recreational Fires


An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purpose.

307.4.2 Recreational Fires

Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

307.5 Attendance

Open burning, bonfires or recreational fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with Section 906 with a minimum 4A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

This type of fire is new to us with the adoption of the IFC. Consider this a urban campfire. Apply common sense. Using the above restrictions, if you encounter persons using this type of fire in an unsafe manner, instruct them as to what they need to do to become compliant.


Section 308, Open Flames is hereby amended by adding a new section 308.3.9 which shall read as follows.

308.3.9 Chimenea & Other Recreational Open Flame Devices

Recreational open flame devices shall not be stored or operated on or under balconies of multi-family dwellings. Open flame recreational devices shall not be operated within 10ft. Of combustible material including but not limited to walls, floors, household items and combustible vegetation. Such devices shall not be used when wind speed is in excess of 15 mph.

Recreational open flame devices such as chimenea and above ground fire pits are allowed to be closer to combustible material. The fire is contained more. These are viewed the same as charcoal grills in relation to apartment buildings. The chance for loss of life and increased cost of property damage is greater in a commercial multi-family dwelling than it is in a single family home.

Police Department Violation Code Number Open Burning 12-01

If you are living in the county, please call Lyon County dispatch at 620-343-4225.