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What To Do When Having a Controlled Burn
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March 14, 2022

Each township that Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company covers has a ordinance that outlines what is and isn't allowed when having a controlled burn. In this article we will cover what each township allows and does not allow and the proper procedure to have a controlled burn. To start there are some factors to think about before having a controlled burn such as the weather including wind and humidity. Most weather apps will provide alerts for fire weather when the conditions present dont allow you to burn. This information can also be looked up by simply searching for the fire weather conditions for your area. The notifications you want to watch for are Red Flag Events, Warnings, and Watches. For red flag events you cannot burn these days as the weather does not permit so. On red flag days the weather could cause a controlled burn to become out of control and spread rapidly. Red flag warning and watches are letting you know that red flag weather is coming and you should hold off until the weather is acceptable. When burning it is important to have a source of fire control such as a garden hose near the pile, not have the pile near any buildings and or structures, and to have the area around the fire clear of dry debris such as leaves and dry grass to help prevent any fire spread. Before you start burning you'll need to call into chester county Department of Emergency Services Dispatch Center (610) 436-4705 and advise you are having a controlled burn. They will ask questions such as the start time and approximate end time of your controlled burn, what you are burning, and if you have any fire protection such as a garden hose. This will put the information into a burn file that will help reduce false calls if someone were to call 911 after seeing the controlled burn and not knowing what is on fire. With that you should always be attending your controlled burn if you don't extinguish it.

The following is the ordinances for each of our townships:

East Marlborough Township-

Allowed; recreation fires, controlled fires, and fires containing brush, shrub or tree trimmings, vegetative waste, wooden fence posts and rails and other organic materials associated with farm or forestry operations.

Prohibited; the burning of municipal waste, leaf waste, grass clippings, recyclable material, plastics, rubber, oil-based material, non combustible material, hydrocarbon products or flammable liquids, construction and demolition waste, dead animals, human and animal excrement, human and animal hair, asphalt or tar shingles or roofing materials, bedding, foam rubber, nylon, rayon, cotton, wool, polyester or other synthetic material, insulation from copper or other wiring, or any material which when burned emits noxious, offensive or harmful smoke, odor or fumes.

Conditions;
-Burning shall be located at least 50 feet from any and all. property boundary lines, buildings, structures of any kind, public roads, curbs, sidewalks, utility poles and other combustable materials.
-Burning shall be preformed between sunrise and 11pm
-A responsible adult, 18 years of age or older, shall be in attendance during the entire duration of the burn
-A connected hose or other ample water supply capable of extinguishing the fire present, or the fire placed within a wet area at least 50 feet from a property line or building
-The area where the burning is taking place cleared of combustable material of a radius of 15 feet
-The burning does not cause excessive smoke or air pollution to travel onto any neighboring property
- Recreational fires shall not have fuel area greater than 10 feet in diameter except larger fires if they are 100 feet from any property line or building

Judgement of dangerous or Nuisance Fires;
Any fire on public or private property shall be promptly extinguished by the landowner or if necessary, the local fire company having jurisdiction, either with or without the consent of the land owner or person in charge, if, in the opinion of a police officer, fire personnel, fire marshal or the codes enforcement officer or his or her designee, such fire constitutes a danger or nuisance to persons or property.

Pocopson Township-

Allowed; the burning of leaves, brush, grass or wood.

Prohibited; the burning of municipal waste, recyclable materials, plastics, rubber, oil-based materials, noncombustible materials or any material which when burned emits noxious, offensive or harmful smoke, odor or fumes.

Conditions;
-Burning shall be located at least 50 feet from any and all. property boundary lines, buildings, structures of any kind, public roads, curbs, sidewalks, utility poles and other combustable materials.
-The burning shall be preformed only between sunrise and sunset
-A responsible adult, 18 years of age or older, shall be in attendance during the entire duration of the burn
-A connected hose or other ample water supply capable of extinguishing the fire present
-There is an area cleared of all combustable material of a radius of 15 feet
- The Chester County Fire Board is notified prior to ignition
-Recreational fires shall not be greater than 10 feet in diameter or 2 feet in height
-Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure, property boundary, or combustable material

Extinguishment of Dangerous or Nuisance Fires;
Any fire on public or private property shall be promptly extinguished by the landowner or if necessary, the local fire company having jurisdiction, either with or without the consent of the land owner or person in charge, if, in the opinion of a police officer, fire personnel, fire marshal or the codes enforcement officer or his or her designee, such fire constitutes a danger or nuisance to persons or property.

Newlin Township-

Allowed; the burning of brush and wood only if the fire is no less than 50 feet away from any adjacent property boundary where the adjacent property is owned by a person or entity different than the owner of the property where the fire is burning

** The fire company still wants property owners to clear an area around where the fire will be burning and have a water source to extinguish the fire even though it is not noted in the ordinance**

Authority to extinguish fires;
Any fire on public or private property shall be promptly extinguished by the local fire company having jurisdiction, either with with or without consent of the property owner if, in the opinion of the mire marshal, or a representative of the fire company or a police officer, such fire causes and imminent danger to persons or property or violates other provisions in the ordinance

West Marlborough Township-

West Marlborough township does not have a specific burn ordinance which would then have residences follow the state ordinance. The burning of natural material is allowed and smoke cannot cause a nuisance or go onto a neighboring property. It is still suggested by the fire company in order to safely burn to have the fire 50 feet from any property line, building or structure and other combustible materials, have a water source that is capable of extinguishing the fire, and clearing a 15 foot radius around the fire.

The Pa burn ordinance information can be found at: https://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Air/BAQ/GeneralInformation/Pages/Open-Burning-Information.aspx

All of this information helps promote safe controlled burns and prevent fires from becoming out of control.

Hyperlinks: East Marlborough Burn Ordinance
Pocopson Burn Ordinance
Newlin Burn Ordinance
 

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