DeKalb Fire Department warns residents about outdoor burning


Steve Dobberfuhl, senior finance major, Christina Snarez, junior athletic training major, and Ed Domich, English alumnus enjoy a bonfire and bag tournament in the University Plaza parking lot Wednesday night.

By Olivia Willoughby

Residents are warned by the DeKalb Fire Department to take safety measures with open and outdoor burning due to the dry weather and speedy winds.

Greg Hoyle, interim assistant chief at the DeKalb Fire Department said dry weather has been a concern for the past few weeks.

“The concern increases when there are drought conditions,” he said. “It hasn’t rained in a couple of weeks. As the day moves on and things dry out, there’s always a burning hazard.”

To increase the concern, the winds have been picking up, which would cause potential fires to spread, said Eric Hicks, DeKalb interim fire chief .

“It’s been windy and warm recently,” Hicks said. “That dries everything out and helps spread fires.”

The dry conditions allow fires to spread easily.

“People have to be very careful because fires spread rapidly,” Hicks said, “There’s nothing no wet areas to stop it.”

Other fire safety tips the fire department said DeKalb residents should consider keeping flames away from homes.

“The biggest thing we ask for is to make sure not to barbecue on wood decks,” Hicks said. “Do it safely away from your home.”

Hicks also said students living in apartments are not supposed to grill on their decks.

“Many fires have been caused by that,” he said. “If you’re going to barbecue outside, you need to have an extinguisher available.”

Other things residents should have available for open fires is a bucket of water or a water hose. Hicks also said apartments should come with both a fire extinguisher and working smoke detectors.

Lt. Luke Howieson, DeKalb fire prevention officer, said the code requirements for open burning include burning no closer than 25 feet away from structures and 15 feet away from lot lines.

“The fires have to be attended at all times,” Howieson said. “If someone complains about the fire being a nuisance, the fire department will be required to put the fire out.”

Howieson also said bonfires and recreational fires need to be monitored and require a permit.

“If you want a bonfire, you’ll need to apply to the fire department for a permit,” Howieson said. “It depends on the size and where you’re going to hold it. But we’d have to take a look at it.”