City of Marshalltown Opening Burning Regulations

Open burning is allowed from April 1 st to June 30th and October 1st to November 30th. Burning is limited to plant material grown on the premises or deposited thereon by the elements by the owner or occupant of the premises involved. Burning is allowed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily (Sunday-Saturday) and is limited to single-family dwellings only. Burning on public streets, alleys, or the property of another, unless permission is given (neighbors — neighborhoods) is prohibited. All open burning piles shall be extinguished by 7 p.m. 

No burning is allowed on holidays.

 Any opening burning must be constantly supervised by a competent person equipped with a satisfactory means of fire control.

Open burning shall be prohibited when atmospheric conditions make such fires hazardous and include:

  • Wind speed greater than 15 mph.
  •  Extended dry weather conditions.

Open burning shall not be less than 50 feet from any structure. Fire in enclosed containers with a cover to control flying embers shall not be less than 15 feet from any structure.

Burning of garbage is absolutely prohibited.

Burning by commercial business is prohibited unless a burn permit is obtained from the Fire Department. If a permit is issued, all requirements for open burning shall be followed. If you are a commercial business requiring an open burn permit, please complete this form

For any questions or concerns please contact The Fire Department at (641) 754-5751, Fire Marshal Josh Warnell at, or Chief David Rierson at

  1. Recreational Fires

Recreational fires shall be allowed for food preparation, religious, pleasure, and camping purposes at one-and-two-family dwellings and the City campground. The total area of the fire is limited to three (3) feet or less in diameter and two (2) feet or less in height. Material to be burned is limited to seasoned wood, and the fire shall comply with all other applicable codes related to open burning. Recreational fires on the ground shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Recreational fires contained in appliances specifically designed for this purpose (outdoor fireplaces) shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. The responsible party must provide a means to control flying embers. All recreational fires must be extinguished by 2:00 A.M. and are allowed year-round.

  1. Bonfires

A bonfire is an outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes that exceeds the size requirements of a recreational fire.

Bonfires shall follow the listed requirements for recreational burning with the following exceptions:

  • A permit is required from the fire code official
  • Bonfires are required to be 50 feet from any structure and 15 feet from property lines

Please complete this form to request a permit for a bonfire. 

  1. Violations

Any violation of the rules concerning prohibited and open burning, which requires a response by the city's fire department, will be subject to a response fee as established by resolution.


  • Burning Garbage
  • Burning Rubbish
  • Burning Diseased Trees
  • Opening Burning Violation
  • Recreational Burn Violations
  • Other 


  • 1st Offense: $110.00 ( After 30 days $130.00)
  • 2nd Offense: $230.00 ( After 30 days $230.00)
  • 3rd Offense: $310.00 ( After 30 days $330.00)
  • Commercial property shall be charged the permit fee for violations

Repeated violations over 3 will be charged at the 3rd offense rate or a civil citation may be issued with a required court appearance.

A late fee of $20 will be assessed as noted if not paid within 30 days of the violation date. If court litigation is required, other penalties may be applicable.

  1. Other restrictions

It shall be unlawful to engage in open burning within 20 feet of any part of a pine or spruce tree.

  1. Definitions

Backyard: Backyard means any area as defined under Ch. 158 of the code of ordinances.

Backyard burning: The burning of natural vegetation originating on the premises and burnt by individuals domiciled on or owning the premises. Natural vegetation includes, but is not limited to leaves, grass, small branches, flower remains, and trimmings.

Bonfire: An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes that exceeds the size requirements of a recreational tire.

Garbage: All solid and semi-solid putrescible and nonputrescible animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparing, cooking, storing, and serving of food or of material intended for use as food.

Hazardous conditions: Environmental factors, such as wind, temperature, and relative humidity that contribute to hazardous burning conditions.

Open burning: Any burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber as defined by the International Fire Code as adopted by the City of Marshalltown. Open burning does not include recreational fires or the use of outdoor portable fireplaces.

Portable outdoor fireplace: Portable outdoor fireplace means a portable, outdoor, solid fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay, or other non-combustible material.

Recreational fire: An outdoor tire burning material other than rubbish or yard waste where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, and barbeque grill and has a total fuel area of three (3) feet or less in diameter and two (2) feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes,

Rubbish: Rubbish means all waste Inatenals of nonputrescible nature.

Requirements referenced from the International Fire Code (2015) and Chapter 91 of the Marshalltown Code of Ordinances.