Jamestown fire ordinance limits fire size, placement

The Jamestown fire ordinance allows fires in town but places restrictions on where fires are allowed.

dry flower pot
Dry flower pots can be a source of ignition if cigarettes are put out in the potting soil which contains mulch and other organic material. Keith Norman / The Sun

The city of Jamestown has its own set of rules when it comes to fires, according to Jim Reuther, chief of the Jamestown Fire Department.

The Stutsman County burn ordinance prohibits open fires when the fire danger is very high, extreme or when a red flag warning has been issued. The county ordinance is in force in all of Stutsman County with the exception of the city of Jamestown.

Basically, fires are allowed in the city," Reuther said, referring to the city's fire ordinance. "We allow fire pits or recreational fires with certain regulations."

The fire pit can be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and must have a cover.

"It can only burn wood, manufactured logs or charcoal," Reuther said. "You can't burn any other material like grass or dried leaves or petroleum products."


During the entire time the fire burns, there must be a person within 25 feet of the fire with a way to put out the fire such as a fire extinguisher or a garden hose attached to a water source. Outdoor fires are also not allowed in Jamestown if the wind speed is above 25 mph.

"It must be completely put out if there is no one there to monitor it," Reuther said.

All home recreational fires, including propane and charcoal grills as well as fire pits, must be on the ground rather than on wooden decks or patios, Reuther said.

Smoking materials are another concern for fires in the current dry conditions.

"Put them out in a container of water," Reuther said. "Don't put out a cigarette in a potted plant. Much of the potting soil is mulch and that can burn. Don't throw cigarettes out of a moving car."

Reuther said there have been calls from the public expressing concern for recreational fires in the community. First-time violators usually receive a warning while the second violation can result in a $100 fine or $300 fine for a third violation.

Fire officials and police officers also have the authority to order a fire that is deemed dangerous to be immediately extinguished, Reuther said.

And the Jamestown City Council may revise the ordinance if the fire danger persists.


"Fires are allowed under those restrictions now," Reuther said. "The City Council could decide differently in the future."

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