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Bonfire Policy

Originator: Department of Public Safety, Issued: September 11, 2003

This safety policy has been established to assist persons who are planning to erect a Bonfire on University of Louisville property. These guidelines are not conclusive but offer guidance believed be appropriate safety considerations while planning, constructing and maintaining a Bonfire. Bonfires may not be constructed on university property without prior written permission from Department of Public Safety (DPS). The following is a checklist of safety requirements and guidelines, which have been developed to insure that Bonfires are constructed and maintained safely.

Bonfire Safety Checklist

  1. Notifying the Appropriate Authorities
    1. During the preplanning phase, the Requestor must contact the University of Louisville Fire Marshal, 30 days prior the event, who will act as liaison in obtaining written approvals from the appropriate state and local authorities. Such authorities may include the Louisville Fire Prevention Bureau, Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District (JCAPCD), and the University Physical Plant. The bonfire permit will be supplied and signed by Louisville Fire Prevention Bureau (LFPB) at the completion of a burn site inspection as attended by LFPB and the University Fire Marshal. The bonfire permit must then be forwarded to JCAPCD for final approvals. Copies of the bonfire permit shall be forwarded to the University Physical Plant, University Dept. Environment Health/Safety, Louisville Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire Engine Company #18, and the Requestor (see contact numbers below).
    2. Requests to erect a Bonfire must be received by the U of L Department of Public Safety no less than 30 days prior to the date of the event.
    3. Representatives from University of Louisville DPS, Physical Plant, and Louisville Fire Department will determine if appropriate safety personnel and equipment will be available to accommodate the event.
    4. Representatives from DPS, the Requestor, and Louisville Fire Prevention Bureau will inspect the proposed bonfire site and will review safety requirements with the Requestor prior to the event.
  2. Prevailing Winds
    1. Prevailing winds may not exceed twenty miles per hour (20mph) for at least 30 minutes before the fire is set, or the event must be postponed until such time as the wind velocity has receded to 20mph or less. To verify prevailing wind speeds and direction contact the National Weather Service at the Louisville International Airport.  (968-5195)
  3. Fueling the Fire
    1. The use of gasoline, kerosene, paper products, including but not limited to, cardboard, newspaper, shredded wood packing and popcorn packing insulation is PROHIBITED.
    2. Nail-free wooden boards and logs may be used to fuel the bonfire. In instances where materials contain nails, it will be responsibility of the requestor to thoroughly clear the burn site of nails or other sharp items after use. Such materials may be presoaked using CHARCOAL LIGHTER FLUID. Charcoal lighter fluid is the only recognized accelerant approved by the University Dept Public Safety. Presoaked fireplace logs may be purchased from most major food and/or convenience stores may also be used to fuel the fire.
    3. All spare or unused fuel including but not limited to charcoal lighter fluid, wood, paper, etc, may be stored no closer than fifty feet (50) from the Bonfire.  The charcoal lighter fluid must be stored in its original container and with its   lid maintained in the closed position after each use.
  4. Lighting The Fire
    1. Presoak the tip of a 60-inch torch/stick with charcoal lighter fluid to ignite the fire.
    2. The fire shall be ignited with the wind at ones back. Caution should be exercised if addition liquid starter fluid is added to fire following its initial lighting.
  5. Security and Fire Ground Monitors
    1. Prior to lighting the fire notify the University of Louisville Police (852-6111) and request that the City Fire Dept. (574-3220) be made aware that the fire ready to be ignited.
    2. The Requestor will be responsible for providing a minimum of four (4) Fire Brand Monitors.  Fire Brand monitors will assist trained personnel with visually monitoring floating firebrands (airborne lighted particles) as well as keeping onlookers at a safe distance from the fire. Should a fire erupt caused by a firebrand the monitor must not attempt to extinguish the fire but should immediately contact the nearest safety officer.
    3. The fire must be maintained at a size not exceed 5ft by 5ft in accordance with Kentucky Fire Prevention Code F-301.1-10 and be supervised at all times.
    4. To insure personal safety, unauthorized persons shall not engage in the activity of fire suppression but shall notify a safety official immediately.
  6. Extinguishments and Cleanup
    1. A minimum of (two) type 20lb. ABC extinguishers and, (two) five-gallon size containers of water or (two) 2-1/2 gallon water type extinguishers should be available and accessible to control the fire.
    2. Fire department apparatus and a charged garden hose line with enough length to each the fire, shall be readily accessible before the bon fire is started and hall remain exclusively available for fire control throughout the event or until the fire has been fully extinguished. In the event that the fire apparatus is dispatched on an emergency call, the items noted above in E-1 should be readily available for use by university safety personnel.
    3. After the fire has been extinguished, hand tools including metal shovels and rakes should be used to turn the charred materials while applying copious amounts of water to ensure that the fire has been fully extinguished. Securing hand tools and restoring the burn site to its original conduction shall be responsibility of the Requestor.
    4. Charred materials shall be deposited in a 55 gallon open top metal drum and fully immersed in water and remain in the drum on location until picked up by the U of L Physical Plant or is otherwise properly disposed.
    5. Charred materials may not be deposited into campus refuge receptacles (dumpsters).

Important Telephone Numbers

      University Fire Marshal (502) 852-3473
      University Police (502) 852-6111
      U of L Dept Environmental Health&Safety (502) 852-6670
      Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District (502) 574-6000
      Fire Prevention Bureau (502) 574-3731
      City Of Louisville Fire Co. #8 (502) 574-3220
      City Of Louisville Fire/EMS (502) 574-3220
      National Weather Service (L.I.A) (502) 968-5195
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    To report an emergency, dial 852-6111 or 911.

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