Open burning still prohibited in Fort Dodge

Doug Ostbloom, Fort Dodge fire marshal, wants to remind Fort Dodge residents that while the open burning ban has been lifted for rural Webster County, it’s still very much in effect for residents living within the city limits.

“Just because the ban is off for the county,” he said, “doesn’t change the ordinance for Fort Dodge.”

He said the law is pretty specific.

“There is no open burning of leaves, garbage or discarded building material,” he said. “It does permit friendly fires though.”

Those would be recreational fires in a properly constructed fire pit, only wood may be burned and the pit can’t exceed 3 by 2 feet and 2 feet deep in size.

The ceramic Mexican chimney burners and commercially made metal burners are also legal.

Barrels are not.

“Burn barrels have never been legal,” he said.

He said that if his department does get a complaint about burning, they will investigate. They take an educational position on the first complaint.

“We issue them a copy of the ordinance and have them sign a letter of understanding,” he said.

A second violation can result in a ticket.

“They’re subject to a $300 fine,” he said.

Continued violations will result in further citations. He said the ordinance is in place to help maintain air quality and to ensure safety for everyone.

There are several options available to residents as an alternative to burning their yard waste.

Fort Dodge residents can take it to the Yard Waste Center located at 3001 Eighth Ave. S. It is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. until noon. On Saturday, it is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. He said those hours will continue through November.

They can also have their yard waste collected curbside. Stickers to place on the paper bags for this are available at the Municipal Building.

In addition, he said they can mulch the leaves on the lawn or compost their waste.