Grand Blanc council approves new fire pit, open burn ordinance

GRAND BLANC — A new ordinance regulating open burning is set to take effect June 1 in the City of Grand Blanc.

“We hadn’t had anything like this before,” said City Manager Wendy Jean-Buhrer. “It sort of clarifies some of the issues we thought we needed to address, and that our fire chief thought we needed to address.”

The main item that will impact individual residents is the requirement that fire pits be UL approved and have tops that will catch embers before they become airborne.

The ordinance also has some restrictions that affect apartment-dwellers, who will be prohibited from using fire pits or patio fireplaces, as well as both charcoal and gas grills, on balconies.

“One concern we had was … open burning under wood decks,” Jean-Buhrer said. “We wanted to make sure that wasn’t being done. There is no open-flame cooking (allowed on balconies).”

In addition, residents of single-family dwellings will be required to grill at least five feet from their dwellings. Fire pits may be installed on residential patios, but they must be at least 15 feet from the structure, and cannot exceed four feet in diameter.

The ordinance also prohibits open burning of household trash, refuse, and construction and demolition materials, as well as burning on commercial property or open land unless a permit is obtained from the fire department.

Residents may not use flammable liquid in fire pits.

The release of sky lanterns also is prohibited.

A garden hose must be readily accessible when burning, and flames must be extinguished by 1 a.m. All fires must be attended at all times, and any fire creating sufficient smoke as to cause a nuisance must be extinguished.

In the event of drought or dry conditions, a burn ban would affect only fire pits (not grills).

Residents are advised that burning is not allowed when wind speeds exceed 10 miles per hour.

Burn permits are not required for use of fire pits in the city.