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Burning barns, homes and other structures

Never burn open burning infographicThe rules and regulations governing the intentional burning of structures such as old barns and homes are very explicit. These rules apply to structures still standing and in good condition as well as those already on the ground, such as when a storm or flood causes excess construction debris to be present. The intentional burning of any structure is only allowable for fire suppression training.

All fire suppression training must conform to the guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions (NFPA 1403). NFPA 1403 provides guidelines for preparing a structure for a live fire training. Additionally, prior to a training burn, a fire department must take care to choose an acceptable location, contact residents that may be affected by smoke or odor, choose an acceptable accelerant, and remove asbestos.

There is a thought that open burning of structures is preferable to demolition. This is not the case. In any circumstance where a structure is being removed, the proper notification and removal of regulated materials, such as asbestos, must be completed before any other action is taken.

For more information on open burning rules in the state, go to

Check out the Michigan's fall open burning tradition: Keep it safe, legal and When it comes to falling leaves, consider composting MI Environment articles in this series on open burning.

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