ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: What are the rules on recreational fires?
Q. What is the city's policy on residential fire pits? I have a neighbor who has built a permanent, ground level fire pit in their backyard, near the alley and too close to my garage for my comfort. They will have a fire even on very windy days, ...
Q . What is the city’s policy on residential fire pits? I have a neighbor who has built a permanent, ground level fire pit in their backyard, near the alley and too close to my garage for my comfort. They will have a fire even on very windy days, burn pretty much anything they feel like and then leave it unattended when they are done for the night. Is this permitted by the city?
A. According to fire marshal Brian Geatz, recreational fires do not require a permit in Grand Forks, as long as the fire is within the following regulations:
The fire must be small - less than three feet wide and less than two feet high. An open fire must be 25 feet or more away from any structure or combustible, while a fire in a container, such as a fire ring, must be 15 feet or more away from any structure or combustible.
A deck is considered a structure, Geatz said.
Recreational fires must also be “constantly attended,” meaning someone must be present from the time the fire is lit until it is extinguished, and extinguishing equipment, such as a water tank or garden hose, must be immediately available.
The fire must not be offensive or hazardous, such as burning garbage, Geatz added.
If you see anyone with a fire that may be in violation of these rules, contact the city at 311, said John Bernstrom, city spokesman.
East Grand Forks’ city code also addresses recreational fires. A permit is not required for the fires, but they must be no more than three feet high and must be attended by an adult at all times, among other safety regulations. Only one recreational fire at a time is allowed on a single property in East Grand Forks, according to city code.
Q . What is the protocol when encountering a funeral procession? I witnessed a commercial vehicle pass around a procession, and also the oncoming traffic did not pull over or slow down. Are there any traffic rules regarding this?
A. Drivers are actually not required to pull over for a funeral procession, according to Lt. Dwight Love, of the Grand Forks Police Department.
It is prohibited for vehicles to drive through a procession, but the $20 citation for that violation is “rarely used,” Love said.
“The public is usually very good at not passing through the procession, but it does become a problem depending on the number of vehicles involved in the funeral procession,” he said.
The police department tries to fulfill all funeral escort service requests, depending on the availability of patrol officers, Love said. “The key is for everybody to get from the funeral home/church to the cemetery safely.”
New day for Ask Gov
Regular Herald readers might notice that the weekly Ask Your Government column usually isn’t printed today.
My editors decided to move the column from its usual Monday spot to Saturday from now on, because there’s a new feature coming up in the Monday newspaper where the column is usually printed. Also, we hope Ask Gov will reach more readers in the Saturday newspaper.