Township of Elizabeth, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Elizabeth 5-11-1988 by Ord. No. 1998-3. This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 61, Burning, Outdoor, adopted 2-2-1981 by Ord. No. 1981-3, as amended. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire Department — See Ch. 11.
Junkyards and junk dealers — See Ch. 99.

§ 61-1 Legislative intent.

It is against public policy to permit uncontrolled and unrestricted outdoor burning. The purpose of this chapter is to prevent needless damage to life and property because of public and private nuisances caused by outdoor fires deliberately or carelessly set and maintained.

§ 61-2 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein:
BURNING PIT or INCINERATOR
A pit with masonry walls and earth or masonry floor or a block or masonry structure with a block, masonry or earth floor which is covered by a chain link fence or which is enclosed by a door when in use. A ten-foot clear area shall be maintained around any burning pit or incinerator, free of any brush, tree or other combustible material.
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire contained in an incinerator, fireplace or cooking grill, or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking, or a fireproof container.
CONTROLLED FIRE
A fire with Responsible Adult supervision and surrounded by a noncombustible barrier.
[Amended 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The person designated by the Board of Supervisors of the township to enforce this chapter.
OUTDOOR FIRE
Any fire set or maintained outside of a building.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, organization, association, agency, firm, estate, corporation or any other legally recognized entity.
RECREATIONAL FIRE
A fire contained within a pit or other noncombustible enclosure for the purpose of pleasure, religious, ceremonial, or other similar purposes.
[Amended 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]
RESPONSIBLE ADULT
An individual 18 years or older who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from any other disability which would impair his or her ability to properly supervise a fire.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Elizabeth, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
UNCONTAINED FIRE
Any fire not included in the definition of a "contained fire."

§ 61-3 Fires on public property unlawful; exception.

[Amended 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons either directly or indirectly to kindle or maintain any fire or authorize or permit any fire to be kindled or maintained on any public road, street, alley, or sidewalk within the Township. Fires for cooking may be maintained upon park or recreation land owned by the Township if supervised by a Responsible Adult and if all other requirements of this chapter are met.

§ 61-4 General regulations on outdoor fires.

Outdoor fires shall be permitted upon private property in accordance with the following regulations:
A. 
In those areas of denser population where land is zoned (R-1) Suburban Residential Zone, (R-2) Village Residential Zone, Industrial Zone (I), Village Commercial Zone (VC) or Highway Commercial Zone (HC), no person, either directly or indirectly, shall kindle or maintain an outdoor fire except in an appropriate receptacle or burning pit at least 20 feet from any structure, building or property line. Any such contained fire shall be kept under constant supervision during incineration and at the end of said period shall be completely extinguished.
B. 
In those areas where land is zoned (R) Rural Residential Zone, Conservation Zone (C) or Agricultural Zone (A), no person, either directly or indirectly, shall kindle or maintain an outdoor fire, with the exception of the type of fire as hereinafter provided, except in a burning pit or container at least 20 feet from any structure, building or property line.
C. 
In those instances where it is impractical or impossible to confine an outdoor fire to a receptacle or burning pit, an outdoor fire may be kindled or maintained only if such outdoor fire is a controlled fire and is maintained at a distance of 50 feet from any structure, building or property line. All outdoor fires, whether maintained in a receptacle or burning pit or in the open as controlled fires, shall be kept under constant supervision by a Responsible Adult during incineration and at the end of said period shall be completely extinguished.
[Amended 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]
D. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent fire-fighting training by township-designated fire-fighting organizations.

§ 61-5 Safe distances.

A. 
It shall be unlawful to allow any outdoor fire, including cooking fires, within an unsafe distance from any structure, building or property line.
B. 
No outdoor fire shall be set, started, fed, permitted to burn or maintained where such outdoor fire may endanger any building or property, except where such building or property is used by the Fire Department for training purposes or for any other purpose to further public health, safety and welfare.
C. 
Outdoor fires shall be permitted only upon private property and shall take place at least 20 feet from any building, structure, property line or road line.
D. 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit indoor cooking activities, provided that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
E. 
Cooking grills may be less than 20 feet from a building, provided that reasonable safeguards are maintained.

§ 61-6 Control of outdoor fires and unattended outdoor fires.

A. 
No outdoor fire shall be allowed to burn without a Responsible Adult being present at all times and without a readily available fire-extinguishing apparatus, such as a water hose. Sand or dirt may also be considered, provided that an ample supply is available or shovels and rakes are on hand.
B. 
No outdoor fire shall be permitted to burn whenever drought or extreme weather conditions exist or when a ban on burning has been placed into effect by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or other competent governmental body. The Board of Supervisors may prohibit any and all outdoor fires when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous.
C. 
No outdoor fire shall be set that results in uncontrolled burning of vegetation or property.
D. 
Outdoor fires shall be confined in a noncombustible container, covered with a wire screen two inches or smaller mesh, or in other suitable noncombustible container, except for fires of leaves, brush and/or natural, untreated wood which need not be confined to or covered by a noncombustible container.

§ 61-7 Extinguishing unsafe fires.

It is a violation of this chapter for any person to allow any fire to burn under adverse weather conditions or unsupervised or otherwise in an unsafe manner or as an uncontrolled fire. Any such outdoor fire may be extinguished by an official of the township-designated fire company or extinguished immediately upon request of such official.

§ 61-8 Hours.

A. 
Except as otherwise specified herein, outdoor fires shall be permitted upon private property between sunrise and sunset on each day of the week.
B. 
No outdoor fire will be allowed on Sundays with the exception of recreational fires.
[Added 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former Subsections B through D as Subsections C through E, respectively.
C. 
No person shall burn or cause to be burned any paper, boxes, rubbish, leaves or any other kind of substance in an uncontained fire, nor shall any person set or maintain any uncontained fire, nor shall any person burn or cause to be burned an uncontained fire of any substance or material of any kind anywhere in the township between sunset and sunrise.
D. 
Contained fires shall not be permitted to burn or smolder between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
E. 
Recreational fires, using natural, untreated wood and containing a fuel source of no more than eight cubic feet, and cooking fires are permitted at any time so long as they comply with all other provisions of this chapter.

§ 61-9 Unlawful substances.

A. 
Burning of by-products of manufacturing and processing operations and wastes from commercial operations is strictly prohibited.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to permit or encourage the burning of any substance determined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be a hazardous substance; nor shall any outdoor fire be permitted to burn by any person if such burning is in violation of the Air Pollution Control Act or other legislation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America or any other competent body.
C. 
No garbage or offal may be burned at any time either indoors or out-of-doors.
D. 
Outdoor fires shall be used only to burn readily combustible materials.
E. 
Using gasoline to start a fire is strictly prohibited.

§ 61-10 Special circumstances; service fee.

In the event that it is necessary to have an uncontained fire of a size and/or at times other than permitted under this chapter, special permission must be obtained in advance from the Fire Chief of the volunteer fire company providing service to the area in which a property is located or his designee. In the event that any fire company is required to respond to a fire which violates the provisions of this chapter, a service fee may be levied by the responding fire company.

§ 61-11 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 7-9-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]
Any person who violates any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof by summary proceedings, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $150 and not more than $1,000 and costs.

§ 61-12 Equitable and other remedies.

No penalty herein shall prevent the township from enforcing this chapter by equitable, injunctive and other remedies.

§ 61-13 Liability.

The township and its agents, officials and representatives shall not, under any circumstances, be liable or responsible for damages caused to any person or property by reason of the provisions of this chapter or by reason of the conduct of any burning activity in compliance with the terms and provisions of this chapter. The individual person responsible for any such fire shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.