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Are Recreational Fires & Portable Outdoor Fireplaces Allowed?

The City’s Fire Prevention Code, Title 15, Chapter 15.28, allows recreational fires and the use of portable outdoor fireplaces without a permit, if these guidelines are followed:

  • Portable Outdoor Fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.
  • 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.


  • Use only clean well seasoned wood, NOT leaves, compost, brush, construction debris, waste materials of any kind or holiday decorations/trees.
  • The fire must be constantly attended until extinguished.
  • Some method of fire extinguishment must be available for immediate use, (ex. garden hose).
  • Burning is prohibited when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous. Be alert to wind speed/direction and be courteous to neighbors.

The Fire Department may order the extinguishment of any burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation or does not meet the distance requirements stated in the code.

The City's zoning ordinance does not permit the use of outdoor fireplaces in front yards or side yards.

The City has adopted the 2009 edition of the International Fire Code with local amendments. The complete code requirements can be found in Section 307.

The City recommends good communication with neighbors and hopes a "good neighbor" policy will be adhered to. This minimizes complaints and allows the Fire Department to be available for emergencies.

Please call the St. Charles Fire Prevention Bureau with any questions at 630-377-4457.




updated Dec 18, 2017