Recreational Outdoor Fire Policy


This safety policy has been established to assist persons who are planning a recreational outdoor fire on University of Louisville property. These guidelines are not conclusive but offer guidance believed be appropriate safety considerations while planning, constructing and maintaining a recreational outdoor fire. Recreational outdoor fires 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 recreational outdoor fires are constructed and maintained safely.

Recreational Outdoor Fire Safety Checklist:

  1. Notifying the Appropriate Authorities
    1. During the pre-planning 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 recreational outdoor fire 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 permit must then be forwarded to JCAPCD for final approval. Copies of the approved 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 recreational outdoor fire 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 recreational outdoor fire 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 recreational outdoor fire. 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 pre-soaked using CHARCOAL LIGHTER FLUID. Charcoal lighter fluid is the only recognized accelerant approved by the University Fire Marshals Office. Pre-soaked fireplace logs may be purchased from most major food and/or convenience stores and may also be used to fuel the fire.
    3. All spare or unused fuel may be stored no closer than fifty feet (50) from the recreational fire site.  The charcoal lighter fluid must be stored in its original container and properly sealed after each use.
  4. Lighting The Fire
    1. Pre-soak the tip of a 60-inch torch/stick with charcoal lighter fluid to ignite the fire.
    2. The person responsible for igniting the fire shall be wearing clothing that will not readily ignite or melt, and not be loose-fitting.  The fire shall be ignited with the wind at ones back, and the person igniting the fire shall have at least one person behind them manned with a pressurized water extinguisher or other water supply (minimum of 5 gallons) in the event of a flash causing clothing to catch fire.  
    3. If clothing does catch on fire, do not run, STOP, DROP AND ROLL! . 
  5. Security and Fire Ground Monitors
    1. Prior to lighting the recreational fire, notify the University of Louisville Police (852-6111) and request that the City Fire Dept. (574-3220) be made aware that the fire is ready to be ignited.
    2. The Requestor will be responsible for providing a minimum of four (4) Firebrand Monitors.  Firebrand 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 conducted in accordance with NFPA 1:10.11 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. Extinguishment 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 hose line with enough length to reach the fire, shall be readily accessible before the recreational fire is started and shall 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 6-1 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 condition shall be the 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. #18

(502) 574-3220

City Of Louisville Fire/EMS

(502) 574-3220

National Weather Service (L.I.A)

(502) 968-5195