Ask a Dispatcher
Q. My dad likes to burn wood, cardboard, etc, in the fire pit in our backyard instead of spending money taking it to the dump; but our neighbors behind us to the left don't like it, particularly the wife of the house who claims she likes to garden and doesn't like the smoke in her face while she's doing this. My dad has gone over there and asked them if he could work out times which he would be aloud to burn, even offering to do it at night while they sleep. The husband has agreed to this but his wife still won't budge. Would it be okay if my dad just did it anyway? Or could they report him and he get in any sort of trouble?
Dear Juneau Resident,
For this answer we went to one of our favorite consultants at CCFR...he loves to talk all things fire. So, here's Fire Marshal Sven-
It is great to hear that your dad and the neighbors are communicating and trying to work out a time to burn that would be less disruptive to the neighbor. Open burning is an issue that we deal with daily, and often neighbors donít take the simple steps your dad and the neighbor have done to see what could be worked out.
Residential open burning in Juneau requires a burn permit that can be obtained online (http://www.juneau.org/ccfr/forms/burnpermit/) and is free. If your dad has a burn permit and follows the rules of what is permitted to be burned, it will reduce possible complaints. Additionally, to reduce the amount of smoke it is good to take into consideration weather conditions, burning dry wood or paper products, and making sure there is enough air that the fire can burn hot and fast, thus creating less smoke.
A complaint from a neighbor alone does not mean that a permitted open burn will be stopped. Should the neighbor call in a complaint, fire personnel will be called to the scene and make a determination if the smoke is creating a health hazard or a public nuisance. This is one of the reasons we encourage neighbors to work together. Unless a real health hazard exists, responding to smoke complaints that could have been avoided by neighbors talking, ties up emergency responders.