Yes, you can use your home in Lansing…but there’s a catch

It’s a beautiful Michigan evening. Perfect night for a campfire, huh?

Depending on where you live, it may or may not be legal to use that new fireplace you just purchased.

Within the city limits of Lansing, most recreational homes are legal to use. However, there is a catch. You need a permit.

The City of Lansing Office of the Fire Marshal requires that a Residential Burning Permit Application be completed before you can be allowed to set fires in your backyard. The permit costs $50 (prorated to $25 after October 1).

There are a few rules to follow in order to be approved for a residential burning permit.

In Lansing, fire pits (and other recreational burning) are only permitted between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. until midnight Friday, and 8 a.m. until midnight Saturday and Sunday. Weekend hours are also permitted on several public holidays, including Good Friday; Remembrance Day ; The 4th of July ; Labor Day; Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after; Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day; and MLK Day.

The burning area is limited to no more than 3 feet in diameter and no more than 2 feet high. Wood is the only material allowed to burn. You are not allowed to burn building materials, brush, leaves, grass or trash.

Portable fireplaces must be at least 15 feet from any structure. If you have an in-ground fireplace, it must be at least 25 feet from any building or structure.

The fire must be constantly monitored and a source of water must be available at all times.

The good news? You don’t need to get a new permit each time you want to use your home in Lansing. An approved residential burning permit is good for as many campfires as you want until the end of the following March. You must reapply each year.

Remember that if you violate any of these conditions, you risk having your burning permit revoked without notice. The Office of the Fire Marshal can also impose a fine of up to $150.

Don’t live in Lansing? It would be wise to check with your community fire departments before making assumptions about the legality of recreational burning in your area.

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