Hands off the backyard bonfire!

North St. Paul authorities got burned when they tried to take the backyard bonfire away from the city’s residents.

The City Council this week rescinded the ordinance it passed in December that required residents to buy an annual fire permit for $30 or pay $10 for each individual backyard bonfire, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

“The idea was to keep tabs on who was having a fire and kind of monitor it a little better so people weren’t using deck or painted wood that causes a lot of smoke. … But the whole thing just kind of backfired,” Candy Petersen, a city council member, said of the permits. “I guess we didn’t really look at all the ramifications of it. … We’ve gotten a lot of pushback from people, probably the most I’ve gotten since I’ve been on the council.”

Some residents said the fee infringed on their rights, but the city said one of the problems is smoke from backyard fires wafting into the noses and lungs of neighbors.

Many communities in the metro — Golden Valley and Maple Grove, for example — require permits for recreational fires but does not charge for them. Some other cities — Minneapolis and Woodbury, for example — do not require permits. In Minneapolis, however, the backyard fire is banned when the wind is greater than 10 mph.

  • Kassie
  • Dave

    I don’t care for it either. On some nice summer evenings, I can’t have my windows open because some idiot needs to sit around the fire. It seems to happen more on cooler evenings when I’m wanting fresh air and don’t want to run the a/c.

  • Gary F

    A cigar, a little scotch/bourbon or maybe some home brew, and a backyard fire.

    Sounds like a nice evening.

    • And we agree on something.


  • Veronica

    The worst is when people have fires on nights when it’s warm out and we have the windows open. My asthma does not like the bonfires.

    • Jack

      Fellow asthmatic here. Couldn’t agree with you more.

      Love my neighbors but you are literally killing me.

      • Veronica

        The ones who burn leaves/ trash REALLY make me mad.

        • Jack

          Oh yea! Those are my favorite asthma attacks. I love the smell but can’t be around burning leaves.

        • Gary F

          Hasn’t been legal in the city for years. Where are people burning leaves?

          • Moffitt

            All over town..under the guise of “recreational” fires.