5.550 Outside Burning

(1) No person shall start or maintain any fire outside a building (except for outdoor cooking fires, fires in outdoor fireplaces that meet the requirements of the Medford Building Department, freestanding fireplaces that (1) will be placed on a non-combustible surface that extends at least 16 inches beyond the front and at least 8 inches beyond the side of the fireplace opening, and (2) will not be placed beneath combustible materials, and agricultural heating devices) for the purpose of burning any combustible material, or cause or participate therein, nor shall any person in control of any premises cause or knowingly allow any such fire to be started or maintained on any part of said premises unless:

(a) A permit has been issued as allowed in subsection (7) by the city Fire Chief or his agent to maintain such fire at that location; and

(b) The fire is started and maintained in accordance with the terms of the permit and the following requirements of this section. No outside burning whatsoever shall be permitted during December and January, except for an outdoor cooking fire and agricultural heating devices.

(2) No permit will be issued where burning would violate Oregon Administrative Rules governing open burning in the Rogue Basin Open Burning Control Area.

(3) Each permit shall contain a written condition in bold-face type to the effect that the permittee shall contact the Fire Chief`s office before each fire is started and ascertain that outside burning is approved, under subsections (4) and (5), by the Fire Chief for that day. No permit shall be valid as to any day on which the Fire Chief has ascertained that burning is not permitted under said subsections. In addition, the Fire Chief may condition any permit issued hereunder to exclude the burning of any particular material when he finds that the burning of such material would be unduly obnoxious in the locality of the proposed burning site.

(4) The Fire Chief or his agent shall not approve outside burning on any day if he determines that low humidity, high winds, drought, or other weather or other unusual conditions exist which make outside burning generally, or at the particular time and place proposed, unreasonably hazardous to the safety of persons or property. In no event shall the Fire Chief approve outside burning on a day when one or more of the following conditions exist, or in his determination will exist:

(a) Temperatures above 90 Fahrenheit;

(b) Wind above 20 miles per hour; or

(c) Humidity below 30 percent.

(5) The Fire Chief or his agent may approve outside burning on any day when he determines that the ventilation index is or will be greater than 400 during that day. The ventilation index is the National Weather Service's indicator of the relative degree of air circulation for the Medford area.

(6) Fires which are subject to this section shall be maintained during daylight hours and by a competent adult person and shall be extinguished prior to darkness unless continued burning is specifically authorized in writing by the Fire Chief.

(7) A permit may be issued only for the following purposes:

(a) controlling agricultural diseases such as blight that must be quickly destroyed by fire to prevent the spread of the disease;

(b) burning contaminated pesticide containers as prescribed by D.E.Q. and manufacturer specifications;

(c) burning bee hives and beekeeping paraphernalia to eradicate the spread of disease;

(d) burning a structure or the other use of fire for training purposes by a fire department in coordination with D.E.Q.; or

(e) field burning in agricultural areas; or

(f)  recreational fire as defined in the Oregon Fire Code as adopted and amended;

(g)  fire pits that are not considered a public nuisance.

(8) Violation of this section constitutes a violation.

(9) Outside burning without a permit is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and may be summarily abated by the Fire Chief or Chief of Police.

[Amd. Ord. No. 4732, Oct. 21, 1982; Amd. Ord. No. 6403, July 6, 1989; Amd. Ord. No. 6430, Aug. 17, 1989; Amd. Ord. No. 2000-45, March 16, 2000; Amd. Ord. No. 2005-57, April 7, 2005; Amd. Sec. 1, Ord. No. 2011-69, Apr. 21, 2011.]