Recreational Fire Guidelines


What is a recreational fire?


A recreational fire is a small fire on the ground (open burning) conducted with the intention of cooking out, camping, etc., which is maintained at less than 3 feet in diameter, with wood stacked no taller than 2 feet in height. 



What are the rules governing recreational fires?


·         INSIDE Evansville City limits, and WITHIN Vanderburgh County EEPA jurisdiction, you may  have a recreational fire on the ground by burning only clean wood or charcoal.  Advance approval is required for all recreational firescall the EEPA at (812)435-6145, during normal business hours (M-F, 8am-5pm).


Vanderburgh County residents who live outside the City limits may use a burn barrel, but are required to get approval from the EEPA before doing so.


·         Fires on the ground are PROHIBITED during Air Quality (Ozone or Particulate) Alerts and Burn Bans. (See further information below.)


·         Burning may be PROHIBITED within mobile home parks, apartment complexes, condominium complexes, or similar multi-family dwellings.  Please consult the property manager about rules for your place of residence before calling us for burn approval.


The following regulations apply to recreational fires:

·         Only clean wood shall be burned—nothing that has ever been painted, treated, stained, glued, laminated, etc.


·         No poison ivy, poison sumac, or other allergenic materials shall be burned.


·         No root balls, stumps, or piles of leaves shall be burned.


·         No asbestos-containing materials shall be burned.


·         No trash, paper, or plastics shall be burned.


·         No waste generated as a result of a routine business operation shall be burned.  The fire is not to be used for disposal or salvage purposes.


·         Only one fire/pile is allowed at a time.


·         Burn pile shall not exceed 3 ft. in diameter by 2 ft. high.

·         The fire shall be attended at all times while burning and shall remain attended until it is completely extinguished.


·         Adequate fire protection (water hose, etc.) shall be on-site for extinguishing purposes, at all times during burning.


·         Fires shall not be ignited with gasoline or other fuels, oil, tires, petroleum products or smoke-producing materials.


·         No burning shall be conducted during unfavorable meteorological conditions, including, but not limited to—temperature inversions, high winds, Ozone Alerts, Particulate Alerts, extremely dry conditions, or Open Burning Bans.


Ø  During a BURN BAN, only fires in indoor heating units, outdoor charcoal or gas cooking grills, stationary outdoor fireplaces with chimneys (such as in a shelter house), portable fire bowls or Chimineas are permitted. 


      NOTE:  Under some conditions, fire bowls and Chimineas may be prohibited during a ban.  Please check the ban press release for complete details regarding the use of such fires during a ban.


Ø  During OZONE ALERTS, PARTICULATE ALERTS, or air pollution episodes, only fires in indoor heating units, and outdoor cooking grills using charcoal, kerosene, white gas, propane, Sterno, or natural gas as fuels are permitted. 


Ø  No wood is to be burned during ozone or particulate alerts.



If at any time, the fire produces excessive smoke or offensive odor which creates an air pollution problem; a threat to public health; becomes a nuisance; or is a fire hazard; it shall be extinguished.


All burning must comply with state and local regulations, and must be conducted on the site where authorization was granted.


Property owners will be held responsible for any burning/fires located on their grounds.





In the event of a complaint or other incident, responding personnel (i.e. Fire Dept., federal, state, or local officials) will determine if advance approval from the EEPA was obtained and if the fire complied with all applicable rules.  Failure to follow these rules will result in a Letter of Violation being issued, which may include a monetary penalty.


Chronic or severe violators may not be granted approval for future fires.




For a PDF version of these guidelines, please click here.


Last updated: 3/18/2011 2:21:12 PM