Board clarifies fire ordinance

By on June 27, 2011

Change makes it easier to understand what is allowed
by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—Backyard campfires can still be enjoyed around Elburn, thanks to some modifications to the village’s burning ordinance.

The board voted to clarify language on the size allowed for back yard fires, allowing the fuel pile to be no larger than 27 cubic feet and no more than two feet in height.

Trustee William Grabarek said he was concerned that the previous language of the fire being no larger than 3’x 3’x 3’ was somewhat confusing and restrictive.

“How do you measure a fire?” Grabarek asked. “By the flame, the spark, or the smoke? There’s no way to measure that, so you measure the fuel.”

The 3’x 3’x 3’ limitation is used by many other municipalities and is the acceptable standard in the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District’s rules and regulations.

“I felt that the strictness (of the ordinance) could be eliminated by going with a straight volume with a height limitation,” he said.

He said he suggested the 27 cubic feet because that’s what Kane County allows. He said it would still allow folks to have reasonable recreational fires in their back yards.

Grabarek referred to the book, “The Last Child in the Woods,” which addresses “nature deficit disorders,” the disconnect between today’s high-tech youth and nature.

“Kids sit six hours a day in front of a screen now, and their range for exploring the natural world has been cut down to about one-sixth what it was before,” Grabarek said.

“This would allow people to have a little campfire in the back yard, roast marshmallows and make s’mores,” he said. “Or just sit around and listen to it crackle and connect with nature in that way.”

The vote was unanimous. Police Chief Steve Smith said there have been no issues with runaway recreational fires in the village.