In 2000, the Eau Claire City Council passed an ordinance to allow campfires within the city of Eau Claire. Until that time the only outside burning allowed was the burning of brush by permit.
Under City Ordinance 16.32.015(3) campfires are allowed without a burning permit but are subject to restriction by the fire department at any time. Campfires include an outdoor open fire that is kindled and maintained within a noncombustible receptacle made and designed for such purpose if the fire is contained entirely within the receptacle and does not pose a threat to health, safety and welfare. Under no circumstances will such receptacle be used to burn plastics, trash, garbage or other products that might produce noxious fumes. There is a monetary penalty for not complying with this ordinance.
Noncombustible receptacles can be anything from a pre-built outdoor fireplace to one that is built by the homeowner using brick, stone, rock or cement. The receptacle should be sized to maintain a controlled fire--typically 36 inches or less. All firewood, flame, and ash should be contained within and not overlapping the sides of the receptacle. Campfires/burn pits need to be a safe distance from all combustibles such as fences, houses, and garages--including overhead wires and trees. The key to having a campfire is being responsible with it. The campfire shall be constantly attended by a competent person until the fire is completely extinguished. That person must have a garden hose or other fire extinguishing equipment readily available. Burn only clean, dry firewood in the campfire to limit the amount of smoke. Be cognizant of the amount and where the smoke may be moving. If the smoke is excessive or becomes a nuisance, the Fire Department may require you to extinguish the fire. Check to make sure that campfire burning is currently being allowed. For example, during a DNR Red Flag alert the only outside burning allowed is the grilling of food, which has to be done on a noncombustible surface.
Persons can call the Fire Prevention Division at (715) 839-4825 to find out the status of campfire burning and also with any general questions about campfires.