Township of Maidencreek, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Maidencreek 12-31-2001 by Ord. No. 185. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 220.

§ 88-1 Purpose; title.

A. 
It is against public policy to permit uncontrolled and unrestricted outdoor burning, including burning of leaf waste. The purpose of this chapter is to prevent needless public damage to life and property because of public and private nuisances caused by outdoor fires deliberately or careless set and maintained.
B. 
This chapter shall be known as the "Maidencreek Township Outdoor Burning Ordinance."

§ 88-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein:
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire contained in an incinerator, fireplace or cooking grill or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking or a fireproof container.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Maidencreek Township Code Enforcement Officer shall be designated Enforcement Officer under this chapter.
FURNACE
Any enclosed device specifically designed for burning any material for the production of heat.
GARBAGE
All putrescible animal and vegetable matter resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
GOVERNING BODY
The Maidencreek Township Board of Supervisors.
INCINERATOR
Any device specifically designed for the destruction by burning of refuse, sewage, sludge, or any other combustible material.
LEAF WASTE
Leaves, garden residues, shrubbery and tree trimmings, and similar material, but not including grass clippings.
OPEN FIRE
A fire in which any material is burned in the open or in a furnace or incinerator, including uncontained fires.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, organization, association, agency, firm, estate, or corporation and any other legal or commercial entity.
REFUSE
Garbage, rubbish and trade waste.
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.
RUBBISH
Solids not considered to be highly flammable or explosive, including, but not limited to, rags, old clothes, leather, rubber, carpets, wood, excelsior, paper, ashes, tree branches, tree leaves, yard trimmings, including grass clippings, furniture, tin cans, glass, crockery, masonry and other similar materials.
SALVAGE OPERATION
Any business, trade or industry engaged in whole or in part in salvaging or reclaiming any product or material, including, but not limited to, metals, chemicals, shipping containers or drums.
UNCONTAINED FIRE
Any fire not included in the definition of a "contained fire."

§ 88-3 Prohibited activities; exceptions.

A. 
Compliance with chapter. Within the Township of Maidencreek:
(1) 
It shall be unlawful to burn, ignite, incinerate, maintain or permit to burn any materials whatsoever, of whatever nature, without complying with this chapter.
(2) 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent fire-fighting training by Maidencreek Township-designated fire-fighting organizations.
(3) 
It shall be unlawful to ignite or feed an open fire for the destruction of refuse or in the conduct of a salvage operation in any public or private place outside any building.
(4) 
It shall be unlawful to cause, suffer, allow or permit the maintenance of any open fire for the destruction of refuse, or in the conduct of a salvage operation on any property under his control outside of any building.
(5) 
It shall be unlawful to ignite or feed an open fire for any purpose within the Maidencreek Township Zoning Districts R-2a, R-3 and R-4.
(6) 
It shall be unlawful to burn any leaf waste within any zoning district of Maidencreek Township.
B. 
Exceptions. Subject to the following exceptions:
(1) 
Open fires may be set in the performance of an official duty of any public officer if the fire is necessary:
(a) 
The prevention of a fire hazard which cannot be abated by other means.
(b) 
The protection of public health.
(c) 
The purpose of fire-fighting training by the Township-designated fire-fighting organizations.
(2) 
All open fires, except outdoor cooking, are strictly prohibited in Maidencreek Township Zoning Districts R2-a, R-3 and R-4, except properties currently in agricultural usage as of January 1, 2002.
(3) 
The Maidencreek Township Zoning Districts A, R-1, R-2, CR, C-1, C-2, I and SIA may have controlled outdoor burning (open fires) subject to the following regulations:[1]
(a) 
It shall be unlawful to allow any open fire within 50 feet from any building or property line.
(b) 
No open fire shall be set, started, fed, permitted to burn or maintained where such fire may endanger any structure, building or other property.
(c) 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit outdoor cooking activities, providing that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
(d) 
All open fires must be maintained and supervised by an adult.
(e) 
No open fire shall be permitted to burn or smolder anywhere within the Township of Maidencreek between sunset and sunrise.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 88-4 Outdoor furnaces prohibited.

Subject to the exception for the Agricultural Zoning District, any and all outdoor furnace devices utilized for providing heat shall be prohibited in all Maidencreek Township zoning districts. Such heating facility include, but are not limited to, outdoor wood-burning stoves and/or furnaces.

§ 88-5 Limitations on burning.

A. 
Public roads and public properties. No person shall set start, feed, permit to burn or maintain any open fire upon any of the streets, sidewalks, alleys or public grounds in Maidencreek Township, except where a designated area has been set aside or reserved for this purpose and an appropriate container has been provided to contain such fire.

§ 88-6 Limitations on burning on private properties.

A. 
Safe distances.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful to allow any open fire, including cooking, within an unsafe distance from any building or property line.
(2) 
No open fire shall be set, started, fed, permitted to burn or maintained where such fire may endanger any building or property, except where such building or property is used by the fire department for training purposes.
(3) 
Open fires shall be permitted only upon private property and shall take place at least 50 feet from any building, property line, or road line.
(4) 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit indoor cooking activities providing that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
(5) 
Cooking grills may be less than 50 feet from a building, providing that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
B. 
Control of burning and unattended fires.
(1) 
No open fire shall be allowed to burn unattended without a responsible adult being present at all times and without readily available fire-extinguishing apparatus.
(2) 
No open 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.
(3) 
No open fire shall be set that results in uncontrolled burning of vegetation (field fire).
(4) 
Open fires shall be confined in a noncombustible container, covered with a wire screen of 1/2 inch or smaller mesh, or in other suitable noncombustible container, except for fires of leaves, brush, and/or natural, untreated wood container.
C. 
Extinguishing unsafe fires. It is a violation of this chapter for any person to allow any open fire to burn under adverse weather conditions or unsupervised, or otherwise in an unsafe manner. Any such fire may be extinguished by an official of the Maidencreek Township-designated fire company or extinguished immediately upon request of such official.
D. 
Hours.
(1) 
No person shall burn or cause to be burned any paper, boxes, rubbish, leaves or any other kind of substance, nor shall any person or persons set or maintain any open fire, or burn or cause to be burned an open fire of any substance or material of any kind, out-of-doors, anywhere in the Maidencreek Township between sunset and sunrise.
(2) 
Contained fires shall not be permitted to burn or smolder between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
(3) 
Recreational fires using natural, untreated wood and containing a fuel source of no more than eight cubic feet are permitted at any time so long as they comply with all other provisions of this chapter.
E. 
Unlawful substances.
(1) 
Burning of construction debris, plastics, by-products of manufacturing and processing operations, and wastes from commercial operations is strictly prohibited.
(2) 
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 hazardous substance; nor shall any 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.
(3) 
No garbage or offal may be burned at any time either indoors or out-of-doors.
(4) 
Fires shall be used only to burn readily combustible materials.
F. 
Special circumstances. 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 Maidencreek Township Volunteer Fire Company or his designee. In the event 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.
G. 
Enforcement Officer. The Maidencreek Township Code Enforcement Officer shall be designated to have all power necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter on behalf of the Township.
H. 
Criminal enforcement penalties.[1]
(1) 
Any person or entity who fails to comply with any or all of the requirements or provisions of this chapter or who fails or refuses to comply with any notice, order or direction of the Building Permit Officer or any other authorized employee of the municipality shall be subject to the criminal enforcement procedures, fines, and schedule of fines as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, General Penalty.
(2) 
In addition to the above penalties, all other actions are hereby reserved including an action in equity for the proper enforcement of this chapter. The imposition of a fine or penalty for any violation of, or noncompliance with, this chapter shall not excuse the violation or noncompliance or permit it to continue, and all such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violations and noncompliance within a reasonable time. Any development initiated of any structure or building constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, altered, or relocated, in noncompliance with this chapter may be declared by the Township to be public nuisance and abatable as such.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
I. 
Equitable and other remedies. No penalty herein shall prevent the Township from enforcing this chapter by equitable, injunctive and other remedies.
J. 
Liability. The Maidencreek 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 or party responsible of any such fire shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.