Having a backyard recreational fire this spring? Follow the law and be a good neighbor

April 9, 2021

With the rain expected to clear up this weekend, some Minneapolis neighbors will be enjoying family time or safe gatherings with friends over outdoor fires. Following these laws will help keep Minneapolis neighborhoods safe and livable:

  • Outdoor recreational fires are permitted between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Keep fires small: less than three feet in diameter and two feet high.
  • Postpone a fire when Minneapolis is under an air pollution advisory. Fires release fine particles that contribute to air pollution and are implicated in a number of health problems including strokes, heart attacks and asthma. Sign up for air quality alerts from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
  • Burn only untreated, unpainted, dry wood. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris, because the smoke can be toxic.
  • Fire must be at least 25 feet away from a structure or combustible material and in a fire ring or pit with edges more than six inches high.
  • Have a hose or fire extinguisher present.
  • Postpone the fire when the wind exceeds 10 mph.
  • Fire must be constantly attended by someone 18 years or older and completely out before being abandoned.

Illegal open burning or recreational fires could result in fines that start at $200.

Be a good neighbor

These simple suggestions could help neighbors be considerate of each other when having a fire:

  • Letting neighbors know when planning a fire.
  • Postponing a fire when smoke will blow directly at a neighbor’s house or when still weather conditions prevent smoke from moving away at all.
  • Understanding that recreational fires can have serious health impacts, especially for children, older adults and people with existing health conditions. If neighbors say they are affected, please respect the serious medical harm you could be doing to them and extinguish the fire.


Below are links to videos in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong on how to have a safe recreational fire in Minneapolis:


For more information on recreational fires or to register a complaint about a recreational fire, call 311 or email Minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov, or to register a complaint about a recreational fire outside 311 hours, call 911. The Fire and Police departments are authorized to extinguish a fire immediately if it violates City ordinances.

For the Minneapolis law on recreational fires, visit the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Chapter 178.

Learn more about air quality research in Minneapolis.