Burning Permits

The following information is to help clarify some of the procedures and restrictions pertaining to the Open Burning Permit (PDF).

Application Process
  • This is only an application for an open burning permit (PDF) and must be submitted 7 days prior to date of burn.
  • Once you have returned the completed form to 1 of our 5 fire stations, a fire department representative will visit the proposed burn site.
  • The application is then forwarded to the St. Joseph County Health Department for their approval.
  • The total process from application to approval will take at least 2 days, not including mail delivery.
  • Once the application has been approved and signed by the St. Joseph County Health Department, the Health Department will mail you the permit.
  • Until you receive the permit, burning is not allowed.
  • Once approved, the permit is good for the 2-week period which you listed on the application.
  • All burning must take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • If a health-related complaint is received regarding your burning, the fire must be extinguished even though a permit has been issued.
  • All burn piles must not be any larger than 3 feet high and 5 feet in diameter, and must be at least 25 feet away from other combustibles such as bushes, wood piles, or buildings.
  • The burning site must be attended at all times.
  • No stumps, grass clippings, leaves, finished lumber or other construction materials are to be burned with this permit.
  • The open burning permits were designed for storm clean-up, not clearing a lot for construction.
More Information
If you should have any questions not answered above, please contact Clay Fire Territory at 574-272-2144 or the St. Joseph County Health Department - Environmental Division at 574-235-9721.