As weather improves and residents open their windows and gather to enjoy the outdoors, the City of Dubuque Fire Marshal is reminding residents that recreational and portable outdoor fireplace fires are allowed as long as a few basic rules are followed.

Be a Good Neighbor 

Be aware of wind direction. Your neighbor may not appreciate your fire if their windows are open or if their clean laundry is on the line.  Atmospheric conditions should be such that smoke and gases are allowed to rise up and away. If smoke, gases, or fire become a public nuisance, the fire must be extinguished.

To limit smoke and gases, the wood used must be strictly limited to natural growing wood that is dried, split, or sawn to lengths no greater than four feet.  Burning of leaves, brush, paper, garden waste, grass, and trash is prohibited. Additionally, processed/manufactured wood such as 2x4s, plywood, building materials, etc., may NOT be burned in recreational fires.

Be Safe

Portable outdoor fireplaces must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and cannot be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material Recreational fires must not be held within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Conditions that would cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure must be eliminated before starting the fire.

Portable outdoor fireplaces and recreational fires must be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose, or water truck, must be available for immediate use.

All complaints related to recreational fires will be directed to the Dubuque Fire Department through the City of Dubuque’s non-emergency dispatch at 563-589-4415. A fire department representative will respond to complaints and determine if the fire or smoke is a nuisance.  The fire department may require the fire to be extinguished if it is determined to be a nuisance. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in a municipal infraction.

For more information, visit or call 563-589-4160

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