Archived News: This news release is more than one year old and may include outdated information.

What You Need To Know Before Lighting That Outdoor Fire

As warmer temperatures inspire residents to get outside and shake off the cabin fever, the Madison Fire Department has some important fire safety reminders.

Fire Pits & Outdoor Fires

Use of fire pits is legal in the City of Madison, Town of Blooming Grove, and the Village of Shorewood Hills as long as they are at least 15 feet away from buildings and lot lines. Only clean dry wood should be burned in them, and the fire pit must have a spark arrestor or mesh lid to keep hot embers from escaping. Someone must be attending the fire at all times. Always have a water source nearby.

Review the Madison Fire Department’s Outdoor and Open Burning Guidelines for more information about what’s legal in the City of Madison, Town of Blooming Grove, and the Village of Shorewood Hills.

Burning Yard Waste Is Prohibited

Do you have grass clippings, leftover leaves, and dead branches to clear out of the yard? Remember, it is illegal to burn them.

Effective Monday, April 2, the City of Madison Streets Division provides free curbside collection of yard waste and brush (be sure to keep brush and yard waste in separate piles). The Streets Division also hosts three drop-off sites where yard waste and brush may be disposed. Visit the City of Madison Streets Division’s website to find your nearest yard waste drop-off site and review the curbside collection schedules.

If the Fire Department receives a complaint about illegal burning, firefighters will respond and can, at the discretion of the company officer, extinguish the fire if it is not in compliance with city ordinance. Repeat offenders may be fined.

Dry Weather Increases Fire Risk

The Fire Department sees an increase in vegetation fires during stretches of dry weather. Many are caused by discarded cigarettes, matches, or wayward sparks.

Clear dead grass, leaves, and other vegetation away from your fire pit before enjoying an outside fire. Always make sure cigarettes and matches are completely extinguished before discarding them. Douse them in water first for added assurance, and dispose of them in an approved container such as an ashtray.