West Bloomfield firefighters responded to a vegetation fire on May 1.

West Bloomfield firefighters responded to a vegetation fire on May 1.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Fire Department


Fire officials remind residents of open burn ban

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 15, 2018

 The surrounding wooded and wetland area was damaged by the fire. No injuries were sustained from the fire, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The surrounding wooded and wetland area was damaged by the fire. No injuries were sustained from the fire, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Fire Department

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Now that spring is here, many residents might be tempted to have a bonfire or to get rid of fallen winter branches by burning them. 

However, township officials said that open burning is prohibited in West Bloomfield Township and the surrounding communities of Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake.

From deck fire pits to open fires, residents cannot light fires that are not controlled in a residential area. 

“From time to time, we do see people trying to burn yard waste and sticks that they’re trying to dispose of,” said West Bloomfield Fire Department Chief Greg Flynn. “It’s not allowed in West Bloomfield Township: no open burning of any kind.” 

Flynn said that people who are trying to dispose of yard waste should follow the instructions from their waste hauler. Many times, residents can place yard waste into bags and set them out next to their recycling and trash bins, or they can bind twigs and branches together and leave them for pickup. 

Open burning has been prohibited in the township since 1989, according to the township’s ordinance on open burning. 

“(A few years ago) we revisited the open burn ban in township records, and there was some (interest) to amend the ordinance, and it was met with significant resistance from the community,” said Flynn. “Residents did not want open burning because of smoke byproducts that spill over into our neighbors’ houses.” 

Smoke from open fires can really be a nuisance for neighboring residents, said WBFD Fire Marshal Byron Turnquist. 

“People who suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments, the smoke will make their disease worse,” he said. “While someone is outside enjoying a fire, they can’t control where the smoke goes, and other people will have to close their windows and stay inside.” 

Other than triggering asthma, open fires can also catch nearby flammable items on fire, should the fire get out of control. 

Turnquist said that sometimes a fire can look as if it’s been extinguished, and residents might go to bed for the night only to have their deck or other nearby possessions catch fire during the night. 

“People will have store-bought fireplaces you can get at Home Depot (and have) a fire on their deck,” he said. “If you’re having a fire on your deck, it poses a danger.” 

According to the ordinance, open burning does not include “candles, lanterns, lamps, bug repellent torches, fireplaces, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, charcoal cookers, braziers, hibachis, grills, or any flammable liquid or liquefied petroleum gas-fired stoves or similar devices maintained and used solely for the preparation of food on the premises of the owner or occupant.”

Click for more information on the township’s ordinances.