City to allow campfires - within reason

June 3, 2010

Just in time for summer, the West Allis Common Council has approved an ordinance that will permit residents to hold outdoor campfires - but with restrictions.

The outdoor fireplace must be enclosed - screened on the top and sides. Residents cannot burn between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.; fires must be tended to by a "competent" person; and devices and cannot be used on porches or decks within 10 feet of a building.

What is still prohibited in West Allis is open burning of leaves and brush, as well as campground-like "fire pits."

Assistant Fire Chief Marty King said the department received letters from residents asking for the ability to enjoy safe fireplaces in their backyards.

At the same time, officials realize the city has a high population density and want to be respectful to neighbors, so the ordinance was drafted as a "common-sense approach" to open burning, King said.

The ordinance was patterned after rules in neighboring communities, he said.

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