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Fire Department

Open Burning Policy/Burn Permit

Open Burning Policy
Disclaimer: This policy is subject to Florida Forest Service or other enforcement agencies’ declaration of a burn ban. If a burn ban occurs, portions or all of this policy become null and void.

Bonfire: A supervised outdoor fire utilized primarily for ceremonial purposes that has a fuel area greater than 3 feet in diameter and greater than 2 feet in height.

Cooking Fire: Open burn contained within the confines of a BBQ Grill or similar device used solely for cooking purposes.
Land Clearing or Controlled Burn: Controlled burning is the destruction and reduction of land-clearing waste on properties through a controlled open burning process resulting from permitted land-clearing operations, agricultural operations, natural disasters, and may include the use of an Air Curtain Destructor (ACD) or Pit Incinerator (PIT).

Recreational Burn: An outdoor fire burning materials other than refuse (i.e., garbage, rubbish, trade waste) where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.

1. General rules:
    • At no time can flammable or combustible liquids be used to ignite recreational burns or bonfires.
    • Trash or any other materials such as tires, treated lumber, or any asphaltic materials are prohibited to be placed in any fire.
    • Smoke complaints may result in the fire being required to be extinguished.
2. Recreational Burn - No permit is required for a recreational burn.
    • Only firewood and clean unsawn wood may be used for fuels - no lumber or construction materials. Trash burning is not permitted.
    • Must have a method to put out the fire (such as a hose or fire extinguisher) capable of total extinguishment of the burn area.
    • Must be 25 feet from any structures.
    • Pit must be cleared of any extraneous combustible material and cannot be larger than 3 feet in diameter.
3. Cooking Fire - No permit is required for a cooking fire.
    • Must be solely for cooking purposes and flames must be contained within the confines of the device being used.
    • Cannot use trash, construction materials, or lumber as fuels. Must be 10 feet from any structure.
4. Bonfire - A permit from the City of Cape Coral Fire Dept is required.
    • Burn pile is limited to a 10 x 10 x10 maximum size.
    • Must be supervised by a competent, trained individual.
    • Must be 50 feet from any structure
    • Must have either (1) A water source large enough to completely extinguish the fire or (2) a manned fire truck on standby dedicated for that purpose (additional costs will apply).
    • Burn is limited to a 3 hour time frame.
    • If the bonfire takes place on City of Cape Coral property, a standby fire engine and crew shall be required (additional costs will apply).
5. Land Clearing or Controlled Burn - A permit from the Florida Forest Service (FFS) is required. FFS will then notify the appropriate agencies for the requirements particular to that burn.

Burn Permit Requirements

1. Submit a site plan of the property being permitted; this can be neatly hand drawn. Indicate on the site plan where the burn is to take place.

2. List the material(s) to be burned; must comply with open burning regulations (see open burning requirements above).

3. Print and fill out the follow sections on the Control Burn Permit Form: Date of application, date(s) of burn, your name, address and phone number, the burn site address and a phone number of person on site, and the Lee County Property Appraisers Section/Township/Range.

4. The permit cost is $80. Submit paperwork (permit form, site plan, and list of what is being burned) to the Fire Plans Examiner, Lora Greenwell, (239) 242-3621, located in the building department at City Hall: 1015 Cultural Park Blvd, Cape Coral, Florida 33990.

5. The approval to the burn will be received after paperwork is reviewed by the Fire Marshal, permit is paid for and picked up, and a site inspection is completed by a fire inspector.

Additional Requirements for Land Clearing

6. A permit must be obtained from Development Services at (239) 573-3167.

7. A burn permit from the Florida Forest Service will also be required.