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Having a bonfire is one of those things that make summer in Minnesota so great. But just what are the laws concerning fires here in Rochester?

Some communities I lived in back when I was working in Wisconsin don't actually allow you to have any bonfires in your yard-- whether it's in a permanent fire pit in your backyard or in one of those portable fire pits that you can use anywhere, like on your driveway or patio.

That got me wondering about the ordinances concerning fires here in Rah-Rah-Rochester. Are they legal? (I probably should have checked into this before we bought the portable fire pit that we use a few times every year in our backyard in northwest Rochester.)

As it turns out, though, yes they ARE legal here in Rochester. But, according to the city of Rochester website, you're supposed to do this first. "Before lighting your fire, let the Fire Department know you will be burning to prevent a visit from your local fire engine company.  Call Fire Dispatch at (507) 328-2830 and let them know the day and time you will be having a good time," the site notes.

While recreational fires in your fire pit are, in fact, legal, other types of fires (like burning leaves, tree limbs and branches and other yard waste) is NOT allowed. The city also listed some general safety tips to follow if you're going have a fire:

+ Keep it small - less than 3 ft. diameter is the rule.
+ Best location - 25 ft. away from any house.
+ Using a grill or barbeque pit - it can be 15 ft. from any house.
+ Have water on hand - in case the fire gets out of hand, have a bucket with water handy to douse wandering flames.
+ When you're gone, put it out - unattended fires are dangerous.
+ Find these are other safety tips in the Recreational Fire handout.

Listen to Curt St. John from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5
and from 2 to 6 p.m. on 103.9 The Doc