Ask NOW: What are the rules for having a fire pit?

June 26, 2012

Is there a rumor you've heard that you would like to track down? Is there something in the community that needs to get fixed? Mary Malahy explains some of the mysteries of life in the Tosa area.

What are the rules for having a fire pit?

Issue: A reader wrote to me because her neighbor has a fire pit and she is irritated by the burning smell. She wants to know if there are any laws in Wauwatosa regarding fire pits.

Status: Amy Erron, Wauwatosa Fire Department office manager, told me that most lots are too small to have a fire pit. In order to burn in Wauwatosa, the fire needs to be 25 feet from anything that can burn such as trees, garages or sheds, she said.

If the lot is large enough to have a fire pit, residents can only burn firewood. Portable fire pits must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions, meaning if the instructions require leaving the lid on while burning, residents must obey that, Erron added. But, as long as these requirements are met, there are no rules regarding how often residents may have a fire, Erron said.

If a resident notices an illegal fire pit he can call the police department at 471-8430 or the fire department at 471-8490, Erron said. She explained that the police department may be a better option because the fire department does not answer after hours or while on call but the police dispatcher can contact the fire department during these times.

Wauwatosa NOW .com

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