Recreational Burning Guidelines

Local ordinance restricts open burning in Rochester Hills to recreational fires.  A BBQ grill is not considered a recreational fire.  A recreational fire is permitted at detached one- and two-family dwellings.  (Open burning may be further restricted by property owners, property managers, or H.O.A. contracts.)  Recreational fires are not permitted at commercial properties.  Click here to view the ordinance.

Where Permits Are Not Required

Recreational fires using dry seasoned firewood, charcoal, or a commercial fire log, and contained in a portable fire pit are allowed on personal property and do not require a recreational fire permit.  The portable fire pit is required to be used according to manufacturer’s guidelines and only dry seasoned firewood is permitted to be burned.

firepits recreational

Where Permits Are Required

A fire pit or fire ring that is installed on the ground and surrounded by brick, rock, or other items, requires a recreational fire permit.  Some properties in the City may not large enough to meet the requirements.  In order to qualify for a recreational fire permit, all of the following requirements must be met: 
  • Placement must be a minimum of 50 feet away from any structure; shed, deck, playset, fence, building, house, etc.
  • Placement must be a minimum of 25 feet away from any property line
  • Fire must be attended at all times with adequate fire control measures on hand (garden hose, several full buckets of water, etc.)
  • Burning dry seasoned firewood (no leaves, trash, construction materials, yard debris, or other items)
  • Burning between the hours of 8:00 am and midnight. 
  • Size of the fire shall not exceed three feet in diameter, three feet in height, and last no longer than 3 hours.  
  • Fire cannot be placed in any public road, right-of-way, or pedestrian bicycle pathway
  • A valid recreational fire permit is on file with the Fire Department

Any violation of the open burning regulations will result in a municipal civil infraction.  The fines for this type of violation is $150 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for any subsequent offenses.  The City may also recover restitution from the violator, and the fire department may void the recreational fire permit and prevent the issuance of any further permits.  

Obtaining a Recreational Fire Permit

A recreational fire permit may be obtained online via the City of Rochester Hills Website Fire Department page. The cost of a recreational fire permit is $30 and the permit is valid between 8:00 am and midnight each day.  The permit is valid for the calendar year in which the permit was obtained.  To apply online, click the link below.  Please be advised that the permit may take up to two business days to process.  You will receive an email once the permit has been processed with a link to pay for the permit online.  Questions can be directed to the administrative office at 248-656-4717.


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