MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer is a popular time to sit around the campfire, even if you’re not camping.

Backyard fire pits have become popular in the city and the suburbs, but they are not OK with everyone.

Carol Dina, a yoga instructor, wrote an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Monday saying that authorities should consider banning them.

Dina, who has asthma, finds the smoke difficult to deal with. She is asking that people in her neighborhood consider her health and that of others when lighting the backyard pit.

John Seltz, the supervisor of air policy for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that in recent years the number of people lighting fires in their backyard fire pits has risen considerably.

“It accounts for about a third of the fire emissions in the metropolitan area,” Seltz said.

He also said that the contents of the smoke emitted from those fires is similar that of tobacco smoke.

“There are carcinogens and irritants: things that shouldn’t be breathed on a long-term basis,” he said.

Seltz admits, however, that he does enjoy sitting by the fire. So he understands that many Minnesotans love their fire pits.

Transplanted New Yorker Jennifer Samuel in one of those fire-pit lovers.

“At night after we put the kids to bed, the neighbors often come down with a 6-pack and hang out, and sometimes we even barbecue during the day and the kids can roast marshmallows,” Samuel said.

She says her fire pit is something that brings her community together – a feat that is hard to accomplish these days.

Comments (156)
  1. TW says:

    Well of course they should be banned. Why should anyone have fun when a small number of people have a problem with it? This is America after all, we have the right to stop the pursuit of happiness as long as we can prove it is harmful to someone’s health. That’s why we hate smokers and folks who enjoy eating also. Tax them out if you can’t ban them…now there’s a thought, every fire pit owner has to pay for a license and inspection. Make it a self funded state department, generate a load of money for Gov. and his helpers. Call it the Department of Wet Blankets and Party Poopers.

    1. Charlie Brown says:

      Good one…Lets have a Community walk about not burning any wood for fun and activities…..Maybe a group of bike riders can raise funds to suppot a Gov. Group for Lobbying against the family fun of cooking hot dogs out on an open fire. …..Lets force the neighbors indoors so they can get fat by watching TV because if they do anything outside in their own back yard which they are paying mortgage on belongs to the Local Neighborhood Unit Collective….

      1. Lori Seay says:

        OOhhh we can also have a fundraiser to ban sharp knitting needles. Lord knows we do not want an old lady to harm herself making a scarf for little Bobby!!

      2. markH says:

        I’m all for the “Community walk” idea, as long as it’s “clothing optional”.

    2. Patrick says:

      Do you feel better now you self righteous, blowhard, tea party martyr. This is America. People get to have opinions. CCO likes to put up articles like this because it stirs people like up and gets you to read it.

      1. Tom Willard says:

        “…stirs people like up…”?? What does this have to do with politics you illiterate forum troll?

        1. Pete says:

          “A Tea Party Martyr”? What the heck is that? If you really want to see a blow hard…take a good look in the mirror, I’d make book that you’d find one there.

        2. Patrick says:

          “…stirs people like YOU up…” – Hows that? BTW TOM, among other things, actual trolls like to get snotty and correct grammar on comment boards. If you believe a single typo is proof of my lack of literacy then I would suggest you are maybe just looking for any reason to feel superior to something….anything. Sorry about your issues. Moving on, you will notice the original post by TW is sarcastic and thinly veiled anti “big government” rhetoric. That’s how politics got in to all this. I just called him out. So in conclusion Tom, you fail 😉

          1. patricksucks says:

            Patrick, you are an idiot. this is a big government issue. next we will be banning wood burning stoves and fire places.

            1. patrickisanidiot says:

              by the way, the smell of certain ethnic foods cooking make me sick to my stomach… lets start by banning them

      2. TW says:

        It does like, stir people like up, you know what I mean like? Feeling better began way before I reacted to this ridiculous news item. My sympathies to anyone who struggles with asthma, our sons had mild asthma when they were young and used nebulizers to breath OK at night. We did not restrict them from being outside or running and playing and they do not have symptoms any more. If they or I had chronic asthma like some do we would take measures to avoid dust and pollutants by staying in a controlled air environment, like in our house with the AC on, like.

        1. tallulah bell says:

          I’ve been trying to generate interest in banning recreational fires for nearly a decade. my city council person Elizabeth Glidden was eager to help until she got elected (and now relected ad nauseum) and stopped caring. It makes no sense to work to eliminate cigarette smoking from our society while at the same the time condoning and encouraging recreational fires. You can tell from some of the comments on here that America is far from an enlightened society where the good of a community can be civilly and intelligently debated. Start scoring these comments for rudeness, and you will see that the pro-pit people ‘win’ hands down.

    3. Bonfire Police says:

      Ban Yoga,Someone strained a muscle..Ban laughter, it makes me sad..where does this end?? You’d think she’d be embarrassed to sign her true name to the letter!

      1. Fire Bug says:

        Buy yourself a gas fire pit that’s smokeless, less pollution, and fewer enemies.

        1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

          How about this – YOU buy YOURSELF one and YOU can feel better about YOURSELF and mind YOUR OWN business.

    4. speedstan says:

      LOL! You nailed it. The new group of PC control-freak would probably not be happy to hear that they share a lot of characteristics with some of the uber-fundamentalist religious groups they supposedly despise…

  2. Jill says:

    Sure, ban my firepit because it may affect others in the vicinity when you ban loud mufflers on motorcycles because the noise may damage my hearing and it bothers me when they drive by. We allow a lot of personal freedoms for others that we may not enjoy so we can do the things that we enjoy.

  3. Tom Willard says:

    Noise raises my anxiety level. We NEED to ban lawn mowers and leaf blowers…and maybe jets.

    WCCO, you have sunk to new levels of stupidity. Do you do this just to see what comments you can generate. Well here is mine. GET OVER IT!!

  4. I hate yoga says:

    The folks how are complaining so much about back yard fire’s really need to have some cheese and crackers with their wine. If you need some your free to come over to my back yard fire and have some, heck maybe you’ll even make a friend or two. Oh that’s right your to busy getting in touch with your inner self (?), being a busy body and making everybody else’s life miserable because you are. Be glad your not my neighbor, because I’d make sure I had a fire everyday….just for you.

    1. Sounds like you hate a lot says:

      I sound like you don’t need anyone to make your life miserable, you are just that way naturally all by yourself. I truly am glad you are not my neighbor, as hate-filled and nasty as you are.

      1. Rico Suave says:

        Talk about wet blankets! You and yoga lady need to get a room and cry together about the haters. I hate liberalism and liberal whiners more each day. In fact I go to bed each night dreaming about how I can make yoga lady miserable. Just when I think I couldn’t hate liberals more than I do, another one opens their yapper and something silly pours out, and lo and behold, I hate them all just a little more. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Stay thirsty my friends. Rico Suave rides!

      2. mom says:

        I agree with you, we live in a small community and in our neighborhood everyone’s yards are conjoined there is no alley, on a given weekend you may find 3 or 4 fires going on in our backyards and it is great, we all walk back and forth between yards, the kids can run between yards and play night games, they roast marshmallows, make somers everything a childhood summer evening should be filled with. I would hate for this woman to live in our neighborhood, we have never had any complaints, plus it is safe for the adults because they aren’t out at a bar drinking and then driving. This woman sounds like she should be living on an island by herself, then she can have her perfect living environment

      3. Now I really hate yoga says:

        Sounds wonderful…glad not to meet you either. When your done getting in touch with yourself come over to our fire pit (yes everybody’s invited as long as they behave) Maybe you can make a friend or two as well…or not. I had a BIG ROARING fire last night in protest anyways…geez what the heck is this world coming to anyways, I’m beginning to not even recognize this place anymore, bunch of wimps from where ever….GO HOME. How much you wanna bet this gals from the west coast…I remember when I lived in Idaho, they moved in there and I came home because of it. Bunch of liberal busy body’s who think the rights of the few are more important than the rights of the many.

    2. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

      Well said

  5. KO says:

    I have asthma/allergies too….and a fire pit, which my family enjoys. Great way to relax and also to keep kids wanting to be at your house when they are teens. We don’t ban doughnuts or soda (yet) because people have diabetes, why should we? There is a reason I have medication….and one of them is so that I can do things and enjoy things I couldn’t otherwise.

  6. Lori says:

    Most people with breathing problems lock their doors and windows and live with the furnace in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. If the woman in the article has this big of a problem breathing, then she should stay indoors in pure air and stay healthy and leave the others to have a nice night. This is a win win for everyone. And, if she didnt complain to her nieghbors and got along with them, maybe they would make her somore and deliver it to her door.

    1. Kay says:

      So if you don’t have breathing problems, that means you are supposed to enjoy having your house stink of smoke?
      How is keeping people locked inside their own homes year round a win win?
      It sounds mean and selfish and cruel to me…. YOU stay inside because WE think it is fun to stink up this nice fresh natural air.
      Geez, I remember when air pollution was concidered a bad thing, now it is concidered a right. How sad. How very very sad.

      1. Tallulah says:

        Well said Kay. Anyone who wants to form a group to stamp out this ‘back to nature by abusing it’ movement, I’m ready and willing…

    2. fire Bug says:

      Move to Aspen, Colorado where you are only allowed to have a fire in your fireplace every other night due to pollution. Odd numbered addresses on odd days, and even number addresses on even numbered days.

    3. ck says:

      you need to ban automobiles, trucks, and buses along with wood fires. And those god-awful charcoal grills! OMG

    4. Cathy says:

      Everyone, including people with breathing problems, deserve the right to breathe clean, healthy air – not air that is polluted with wood smoke. People with respiratory problems, children, the elderly (all groups who are most at risk from wood smoke pollution) should always have the right to go outside in the fresh, clean, smoke-free air, and every homeowner deserves the right to open their own windows when they wish to let in a fresh, cool breeze.

      Because wood smoke particles are so fine, high levels of wood smoke that is outside can enter nearby homes even with doors and windows closed, no matter what the season. In winter, wood smoke is also drawn in through furnace vents and air intakes.

      Caring for the environment, and the health and well-being of others . . . isn’t this what people in any community should be trying to do? There are cleaner alternatives to wood fire pits in residential areas, including natural gas, gel, or ethanol fire features, or for those who want to, simply going to a campsite . . . so wood fire pits in urban areas are not in any way essential. But clean air is, for everyone.

  7. c1627 says:

    Most peoples vehicles give off more bad fumes than a bonfire for crying out loud. I sure hope these people don’t go camping! Maybe they should all start taking the bus, carpooling or riding the train. You want to ban others form their freedoms let’s take away your freedom since those fumes bother you so much. When you “ALL” start finding new ways to get to work, plant a tree or a garden to contribute then I say we should talk.

    My teenage son has 2, sometimes 3 bonfires a summer. They are here, they are safe, we are home and there are no drugs and drinking. They play football, hackysac, baseball and then roast marshmallows over the fire.

    I suppose these people want to ban grilling too? We wouldn’t want to catch you at a BBQ would we? If your allergies are that bad go inside in your air conditioning and keep the rest of the world out.

    1. Kate says:

      While I completely disagree with most of what you are saying, exagerating to the point of being completely off the subject, I have to say if you are only having 2 or 3 fires a summer, I would trade my neighbors for you in a minute. They might have 2 or 3 a week. They don’t care much about getting them out, usually too drunk by then, so the previous nights fire might still be smoldering when I come home from work the next evening. The neighborhood reeks a mile away. And when it is hot and humid, and they still have a fire, that smoke hangs in the heavy air for days until the weather changes.
      I want fires banned in my city because it greatly decreases the value of my home to me. I’m a big gardener but now my eyes burn too much to do what I used to be able before these jerks moved in. But I have done a ton of gardening in the past 30 years and have planted dozens of trees, so then we shoudl talk? I don’t know why that matters, that is a bizarre statement.
      I go camping, don’t know why you hope I don’t. Campfires belong in a campground.
      I don’t want to ban grilling. People don’t grill for hours on end and don’t create nearly as much smoke.
      I don’t know when air pollution became a freedom. I really dont’.

      1. Benny the Bull says:

        wow, exaggerate much? My neighbors have a fire once and a while and i can’t smell a thing, and yes, my nose works perfectly fine. I can smell your BS over this message board.

      2. :) says:

        You ma’am are a true liberal idiot. Your right campfires are for campgrounds, but thats why I have a recreational fire in my backyard when I am not camping. Go wax your Prius or something…..

  8. one step farther says:

    Lets outlaw wood fireplaces too, same thing but indoors /sarcasm

    The real problem is that they drink evil alcohol at these fire pits and that’s just not right

  9. Let's suck the fun right out of MN says:

    Maybe we should just have laws about what you CAN do in Minnesota, instead of what you can’t. There’d probably be a lot less laws…

    1. TW says:

      That’s a good one. Won’t take much pen and paper either. I will have to think about what we are allowed to do…don’t rush me.

  10. AJ2000 says:

    So Carol Dina wants The State to cart off her neighbors to the Gulag for punishment for starting a fire. Maybe it would be right that her neighbors similarly call the police to arrest to imprison her for the fragrance of aromatherapy that she probably gives off into the neighborhood. She belongs in a lockup for sure.

  11. Lois Yue says:

    close you windows and turn your air conditioning on

    1. Auntie Venom says:

      My elderly neighbors do not have air. Never have had it. They’re some tough people, but the smoke from another neighbors burning has caused them a few trips to the ER by ambulance. Too bad they can’t enjoy air…you know, the stuff carbon based entities breath.

      1. samIam says:

        I suggest a community drive to raise funds so they can get an air conditioner. How’s that grab ya? Again, why should the inhabitants for the rest of the state suffer because of ya-all living on top of each other in Minneapolis?
        Pull your head out and don’t be so self centered….and if smoke get’s into your lean to ask the folks huddles around the garbage can to put it out.


  12. Al says:

    Thought it was interesting that an ad on the page that carried the article was for an outdoor fire pit made by Mantel. You just gotta love the old USA.

  13. Lois Yue says:

    yes all, let’s WORRY about the possible government shut down instead…

  14. Travis R. says:

    Good grief! This is Minnesota, that’s what we do. People with severe allergies and breathing issues,things like that usually move to Arizona . Try that instead of living in a woodsy state,

  15. Joe says:

    Why is it so hard to understand that many people don’t like to smell smoke from their neighbors next door? I used to burn wood in my backyard but I stopped because I got the feeling that if bothered my neighbors and later I found out that it did. NO problem.

    1. Jason says:

      Good for you. You made that choice on your own. Not because someone told you to. Congrats. Again YOUR CHOICE.

      1. M B says:

        The problem is those people who don’t give a rip about the people around them, only what amuses THEM.
        “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins”– Oliver Wendell Holmes. For those of you that can’t translate that it means “Your rights end where mine begin.”
        Obesity directly affects only you. Smoking affects all those around you, Burning fires does the same. That smoke leaves your property and enters others. If I ran by and threw a smoke or stink bomb into your house, you’d call the cops, but because the fire is on your property, stinking up someone’s house is okay and it’s an infringement on YOUR rights if you can’t smoke up the neighborhood? What about my rights to be able to have my windows open at night? My windows being open at night affects no one else. Again, your rights end where mine begin and vice-versa.
        I like camp fires. I also believe they should be clean burning, and when you’re done, you put it out so it doesn’t smolder and stink up the neighborhood. Too bad few feel the same.

        1. Jason says:

          You can have the kids every other weekend. Get to know your neighbor. Really.

        2. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

          “If I ran by and threw a smoke or stink bomb into your house, you’d call the cops”

          Wrong. I’d chain you up in my basement forever and build a concrete wall around you. Think twice before tossing that smoke bomb.

        3. :) says:

          To bad many of us dont have far left liberal agendas, like you…

  16. Jake says:

    Just reading some of these comments reminds me as to why this state is so SCREWED UP. If I had the means to move out, I would have done so YESTERDAY.
    What a bunch of whiny sheep we have become. All mouth, ZERO backbone. That’s the ‘Minnesotan’ way.

  17. Rita says:

    What are they going to ban next BBQing.

    1. Ill all bad says:

      Of course they will not only are they “smokey” but the food is very unhealthy. if you don’t chose to eat healthy they will force you to

      1. rita says:

        well i do eat healthy but i am still a diebetic and i love to BBQ i grill all year long would rather cook on the grill then in the house. Just dont know where they come off telling us what we can and cant do in our own homes in a free country.

    2. Perfect! says:

      So you’re saying it’s ok to ban bonfires and campfires as long as they don’t ban BBQs. I like it! Grills and the like don’t create nearly as much smoke. so that sounds like the perfect solution.

    3. fire Bug says:

      Not a bad idea Rita, I don’t care what my Neighbors do as long as they keep it on their side of the fence.

  18. Yoga the Bear says:

    Why does it mention that she’s a yoga instructor? Is that somehow a noble pursuit that makes her a more valuable member of the community such that we should sympathize with her position? I think not.

  19. Victim Du Jour says:

    Humans have been enjoying campfires on their yard since before the outhouse was invented.

    And Dayton wants to raise taxes to support these control nuts?

    1. Victim mentality says:

      You are the nut. This, like the majority of other articles on which you comment, has nothing to so with politics.

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        People who want to ban such a normal thing like a campfire are the nut jobs. Next we’ll be throwing priests into Prison for having consensual sex with “Adult” Women.

        If this is the biggest problem at the Minnesota Pollution Agency, perhaps we can afford to cut their budget.

        And you can wear a munchausen bubble-boy suit “Hey!! look at me!! I have asthma everybody! And it comes with handi-cap plates!”

        1. Ken says:

          “Campfire” implies that you are in a camp, not in a densely poplulated city or suburb. If you want to live like a cave man, get the heck out of the city, you really don’t belong here anyway.

          When one fire can smoke up a whole neighborhood, affecting dozens of homes, it is insane that these fires are allowed when there is no real need for them. Yes I know it is fun to sit around a fire once in a while…. one of the reasons it’s great to get out of the city once in a while.

          This is certainly not the biggest problem at the Minnesota Pollution Agency, I don’t know how you decided it might be. But it is a big problem affecting the liveability of our cities. Laws only need to come into play when too many people can’t realize what is appropriate behavior for where they are.

          1. :) says:

            Its called a recreational fire and its allowed to be 36″ x 36″ inches. But yes, you can also have a campfire when you go camping if you would like. The only thing affecting the livability of our cities is your liberal nut jobs that want the government to control everything we do. Go live in New York you sissy city boy

  20. anneotremba says:

    seriously, everyone has to have something to make themselves self important. Good job Carol! I mean only someone self absorbed would think that its ok to put their own wants ahead of everyone else.

    1. Kay says:

      That is so twisted! The person that likes clean fresh air as God intended it is “self important” and putting thier own wants ahead of everyone else?!?! How about the people that think it’s fun to burn things up and fills the neighborhood with stinky smoke… but they are having fun so the heck with everyone else that has to gag on thier stink if they go outside and have to forget the pleasure of sleeping with open windows ever again? Sounds to me like the few that like the stink of smoke have already made themselves the most “self important” and are so used to putting their desires ahead of everyone else. The greedy selfish few are just too used to having it thier way, their hollaring now at the thought of concidering anyone but themselves.

      1. :) says:

        How the hell would you know what god intended? Dont be speaking for god. Do you remember the burning bush in the bible? How do you think they cooked back then?? WITH FIRE

  21. Auntie Venom says:

    City ordinance, fire pits must be 25 ft from any structure. In NOMI, it’s rare for a yard to have that much room. I call 911 when a neighbor lights up here in the hood. They always send a fire truck and tell the people to put out the fire.
    For a city as densely populated as Minneapolis, it’s amazing that we are stuck in the stone-age where burning is concerned. Yeah, it’s fun/pretty/intimate or whatever, but not everyone wants to smell it, even through shut windows and air conditioning. Take it to a lakeside park, campground or your place up North. Not a crowded city, not in my vicinity. Unless you like to see fire trucks.

    1. The Shat says:

      Congrats on tying up taxpayer resources (the fire department and police) over your petty complaints as opposed to taking the responsibility yourself to simply ask your neighbors to stop. Most folks would happily oblige. But if you bought that arrogant attitude to my yard you’d be met with a much larger fire and perhaps a mean dog. The attitudes of some folks in society simply never cease to amaze me. I feel terrible for what it is going to be like for my children or my children’s children. Freedoms be damned!

    2. Grow UP! says:

      Auntie Venon, you have options. If you don’t like what other people do, then MOVE. Since when did you become everybody’s mother? Just remember, what goes around comes around and 911 might get tired of YOU calling to report a neighbor’s firepit.

      1. YOU grow up! says:

        MOVE? MOVE???? MOVE????? Seriously, a move can cost thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars if money is lost on a house. You think people should be able to literally smoke other people out of their homes? What if she was there first? Again seriously, people didn’t used to smoke up neighborhoods!!! That was something you did in the country, in parks, in campgrounds, not surrounded by other people’s homes. This has changed a great deal in the 25 years I’ve been in my house, and the years before that in other cities. I think the first 20 years I was in my house, I smelled smoke in the neighborhood 3 times. I remember which 3 houses have been on fire. Now, I can’t ever sleep with a window open because I never know when smoke might be filling the air to stink up my house. All because people are acting like spoiled little children and their “fun” is more important than anyone else in the world.

      2. Auntie Venom says:

        Move? In a heartbeat if we can find someone as stupid as we were to buy a home in Minneapolis that will pay us what we got into it. We grew up in the Good Life State, whose metropolitan area bans burning. We used to enjoy sitting on our deck in the spring and summer and actually smell the sweet smell of flowers. Riding a motorcycle was a pleasure of all the senses. Hell, I’d even take the stockyard over the burning stuff here. Maybe I should take up burning cow and pig chips, it’s part of our cult-chur, dontcha know! Funny thing, the population there isn’t as dense as it is in Minneapolis (no pun intended, it just came out that way) but the air there smells gooood.
        And as far as asking the neighbors to please put out a fire, you don’t ax the entitled to do anything.

    3. I agree says:

      YOU ARE NOT ALONE have tried to talk to the neighbors about their smoke. Not very good neighbors, yes we will stop but they let the fires burn out by 2m

    4. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

      “I call 911 when a neighbor lights up here in the hood. They always send a fire truck and tell the people to put out the fire.”

      Try to hold the guilt in when you hear of an apartment building going up in flames because of lack of firefighting resources. Apparently all the fire engines and ladder trucks are hosing down people’s s’mores in Mpls alleyways instead…

  22. Linda O says:

    WCCO Editor, Stop dumbing-down your newspaper. Does one person’s negative comment about bon fires warrant sending out a reporter and publishing this type of article? No wonder subscriptions are down.

    1. fedup says:

      DUH this is a TV station not a newspaper AND IT ISN”T JUST ONE PERSON OUT HERE TO HATES THE SMOKE..

    2. Fire Bug says:

      I wake up in the middle of the night coughing because of other peoples fireplace smoke. There are days when I can’t even shovel my driveway because it’s so bad.

  23. outdoorsman says:

    I hardly think that a 3X3 outdoor fire pit is going to endanger someones life or make it hard for them to breath. It is completely stupid to ban something the moral majority enjoys because of a limited few MAY have some kind of adverse actions to it. If the yoga instructor has issues with that then perhaps she shouldn’t be in rush hour traffic.
    It wasn’t that long ago that EVERYBODY burned there garbage in the backyard. Just think of the issues she’d have then! On a personal note, I know many asthma suffers that smoke, and go to bars, as well as casino’s. I guess this is a case of don’t enjoy it because I don’t want you to but I’ll continue doing as I please. Go ahead, ban it, I’ll continue enjoying the great outdoors as I please regardless of what some other idiot wants.
    As far as the writer goes, I think they’ve crossed the line of professional journalism and I think they should be terminated from the position. Obviously they can’t write an article that isn’t biased.

  24. ch says:

    so – wood burning has eclipsed auto emissions?

  25. The Shat says:

    Yep, and pretty quick, you’ll be fined for farting. Your methane footprint will be too great. Unless the dems can try to find a cap and trade for that, too.

  26. Mark says:

    So many people have such a knee-jerk reaction about this without thinking about the legitimacies of the opposing argument. I understand that people want freedom, fun, and the ability to do what they want. But there are legitimate concerns here that could be discussed. Pollution is a problem and it does kill and harm people. Smoke from chimneys led to spells of death in 19th century london, and the life-expectancies of people in the polluted cities of china is dismal due to air pollution. There may be a concern that if too many people start doing what they want with wood recreational chimneys in the city, we are exposing us all to dangerous amounts of pollution. This isn’t about the one asthma sufferer versus the rest of us, it is all of us smoking up our own health problems as a community. I am not saying that it is a problem yet, but I am saying that it could become a problem and it deserves some consideration.Rights and freedom are great, but not if it destroys the things we must share in common, like our air. I don’t know if it should be outlawed or not, but as a community we should evaluate the health risks involved.

    1. Freedom says:

      We are talking about a fire pit, not an industrial wood burning industry. if they are burning wood day after day for months on end you have an argument. but i doubt that’s the case.

      I could be severally allergic to tree pollen. which can and does trigger asthma in people. that doesn’t mean i am gonna make everyone in my neighborhood cut down all their trees due to health concerns. not to mention others like pets.

      Things like this really make me mad when things are banned due to theoretical people who might be effected.

    2. freedom loving dude says:

      DUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH< OK so I've wiped the drool from my face now. Rights and freedoms, heck if you people have your way, you'll regulate our freedoms away…hey that kinda works doesn't it. With all the bad and terrible things that can happen to a person…it's a wonder you even get out of bed in the morning. The ole "indian (feather not dot) behind every tree" thing eh.

  27. Laurie Matson says:

    Whine, whine, whine. There’s aways a whiner that has to suck the fun out of things. Close your windows, turn on the AC and use your inhaler.

    1. DJ says:

      I agree, why take the fun out of everything. If my neighbor’s don’t like my fire pit then stay indoors. I’m lucky to have an acre lot so my fire pit is out by the pond that is right next to my property. I enjoy being able to have a fire, roast some marshmellows and just enjoy being outside

    2. LKWoodruff says:

      I am shocked and appalled and dismayed by the insensitivity of so many of these comments. You all act like it is a single mosquito bothering those writing against fire pits, when instead it is more like a swarm of wasps attacking us.

      It is NOT as SIMPLE as a person closing their windows, turning on the AC, and using an inhaler. Oh hell no!!!

      Yes, ACs work with a filter – but they also pull in fresh air, much like a furnace or indoor fire. And smoke permeates EVERYTHING. It travels far and wide, and it lingers for hours (sometimes even days).

      Most folks who don’t have asthma, lung disease, cardiac, and immune system health problems are completely CLUELESS as to what dealing with a fire nearby can be like. Most folks ASSUME that closing windows and using an inhaler will take care of the problem. Well, they are WRONG.

      #1 – AVOIDANCE of TRIGGERS is the most effective measure.

      #2 – Do any of you know what it is like to have to deal with a fire nearby, or with co-workers who persist in wearing fragrances, when one is very ill??? Well, let me try to explain it to you all:

      I’ve been on total and complete disability for 13 years now. Retired due to medical. Started out with a diagnosis of asthma as a young adult. But due to incessant and never ending assaults on my system, plus getting hit by a random VIRUS, I ended up becoming incredibly sensitive to many things, and having serious reactions to many things. It grew to paralysis in my legs from a vaccine, and other adverse reactions to a variety of meds, to chronic bronchitis. A body can only take so much, and as one’s health deteriorates, things can snowball and go downhill quickly…. I finally collapsed completely. Brought down in the prime of my life, with a son, a home, and 5 animals all dependant upon me. Talk about scary….

      An ASTHMA ATTACK isn’t just coughing a little and then using an inhaler and quickly getting things under control. No…. Your lungs feel like someone has beaten them with a lead pipe! It HURTS horrifically!!!! And it isn’t just about coughing; it is coughing, choking, not being able to BREATHE…to the point where you pee your pants, and blood vessels break, and every cell in your body feels like it’s exploding!!!! It also takes a long to recover; it is not instantaneous. And the many meds required cost a lot of money, ramp up one’s blood pressure too high, make you feel like a racehorse, and more….

      A neighbor of mine lighting a fire can be a DEATH SENTENCE to me. It is the equivalent of throwing a match on gas. WHOOSH!!!!! So my LIFE is on the line whenever this happens. One of my neighbors could ~literally~ KILL ME, at whim. I will have no notice this is about to happen. I will have little to fight it with. I can be reading, listening to beautiful music, watching a movie…and suddenly I am in FULL ATTACK MODE!!! Suddenly it’s a war zone.

      That’s insane. And NO ONE has a right to kill me.

      And why does this happen????

      – Because local retailers sell imported fire pits and other containers inexpensively.
      – Because those who aren’t negatively impacted ‘like’ to stare at a fire….and don’t suffer any health impacts.

      Are you kidding me?!?!?!

      This is a serious public health situation. Smoke particulates are large. Asthma rates in my metro area county have risen more than 50% in the past decade plus, in children. Why??? Much of it due to the mindless selling and usage of backyard fire pits.

      How would all of you feel is you had the type of experience I do, whenever your neighbor decides to burn a backyard fire?? If your child went through what I do?? Would that help you to think this through more seriously? The general public’s casual attitude is scarily lacking in knowledge, empathy and compassion….

      Fire gels exist. They may have their own set of problems regarding pollution. I don’t know; I am not an expert on them. But I do know that they are ‘smokeless’, and cost about the same as manufactured fire logs. So they ~may~ be an safer alternative.

      Before doing anything, a responsible mature adult will carefully consider the implications and ramifications of their actions on others. In the case of backyard fires, think first about your ill, elderly neighbors. Also consider that your children’s lungs are the size of their little fists. And remind yourself that you do not have the right to put anyone else through hell on earth just because you ‘like’ fires. I got hit in my prime years. All of my plans for the rest of my life (e.g., traveling the world) have been replaced with huge medical costs and a tiny, extremely limited life now. My son has had to move back in with me, as every year the list of things I can no longer do grows. I will not live to old age now. It is beyond frustrating for a person who used to be high energy and do it all! And it is scary beyond belief when I am suddenly assaulted by a nearby fire. My local fire marshall says call 9-1-1. Yes, I can do that. But even then, it will take hours for the smoke to dissipate…. When you all put your fires out and go to sleep, I sit up alone in the dark night hoping I’ll recover again this time…. And also hoping that IF I do, I never have to go through it again!!

      Public policy requires careful and thoughtful consideration. Not childish, clueless, and careless responses. All of the children with asthma will become adults with compromising health conditions who will miss more work and eventually become unable to work. THIS will cost society much, in both productivity and costs overall.

      This is not a casual little situation.

      And ~I~ am most certainly not having FUN.

      1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

        You probably shouldn’t be living in the city with a 60′ x 60′ lot then, should you…

        Move away from the neighbors whose normal every day life has you so completely up in arms.

        1. just sayin says:

          Well if I was your neighbor, I’d be lighting more fires. 🙂

      2. :) says:

        LOL LOL LOL. What you gonna do next week when your check dont come in the mail and your gov. health care cant get you your meds?

  28. freedom loving dude says:

    And knee jerk reaction??? yeah this deserves one preferably with a size 11 boot attached to it….it’s the American way.

  29. Amazed says:

    Wow. This is hilarious. Common sense please – why make more laws for something so trivial?

    If you have a problem, walk over and simply ask. If everyone in the neighborhood likes to have fires and you are left out – you have the choice to move, or ask them to put it out constantly.

    How nit-picky can our society get? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  30. dave says:

    Wow, are you kidding, maybe i’m reading The Onion news? I love it when my neighbors have a bonfire, and when they do, I open the windows to enjoy the campfire smell! And really are their the resources to enforce another silly ordinance or law? Americans are regulated and taxed plenty already… fun, sorry, that’s not allowed here.

  31. Bill says:

    Shut up and leave me alone. Lock your self up and yoga your head up your safe place.

    1. Aren't you special? says:

      How’s about you shut up and keep your stinky air on your own property and then everyone will be happy.

  32. Ez says:

    CCO, you need a new team of editors. I always find mistakes that even a child could have caught. Get real.

  33. Aaron says:

    Writer: Authorities Should Ban Backyard Fire Pit Nazi’s

  34. liam Gilmorasy says:

    I like fire pits too.. they are great when it’s cold out….
    But when you live in a crowed subdivision such as most of the twin cities are they are kind of stupid.. unless it’s really cold out….
    It’s nice to have windows open.. and if the wind is away from your home there’s no issue.. but when the smoke of your neighbors fire blows directly into your window then that is BS… No one should have to close their windows to keep their neighbors smoke out.
    Yes, living on acreage is one thing. But when it’s about 15 feet between properties that’s quite another.
    I have my fires in the midst of winter.. it’s nice.. the neighbors keep their windows closed anyway….. but in the warmer months it’s kind of babyish and whimpy to have your cute little fire….

    1. Here here! says:

      Well at least it sounds like there is one person out there having fires AND being conciderate about it. How refreshing!

  35. Mr. Mustache says:

    Cry me a river you bunch of tree huggers. I’m going to start burning old tires every chance I get. Now if this person would have had their head all the way up their rear end their would be no problem and everything would smell just fine….

  36. TW says:

    OK Morgan Q. E. Wolf-Slattery, put your helmet on, fasten the chin strap and breath in and out…smell the smoke…imagine a world where smoke can be a good thing…visualize it…that’s good. Now imagine that your neighbors like you…that’s good…and maybe they will invite you over sometime to deepen the sense of community you are missing out on…good..I knew this visualization exercise would help you. Brought to you by the Smoke is a Good Thing Dept. of Garage Logic.

  37. Jim says:

    Backyard fire pit owners are just like bike riders-hooray for me and the hell with everyone else!!!

    1. A breather says:


    2. Thank you says:

      Yes indeed you got it right. Great analogy!

  38. sotamom says:

    Cities have regulations when it comes to recreational fire pits. Mpls requires it not be within 25 feet of a structure, wind conditions below 10 mph and only until 10PM. If your neighbors’ fire it out of control, address it with them personaly or file a complaint at the time. Own up to your issue with your own neighbors. Don’t try to ruin it for everyone everywhere.

    I have seaonal allergies. Should my neighbors consult with me before they plant trees or flowers? Should I ask the person down the block to cut down their Cottonwood Tree? Or better yet, I should ask the city to have them ban them all together. Oh wait what if I move to a new city. There should be a statewide ban so I don’t have to worry about it anywhere I go.

  39. Caveman says:

    Making fire is the first thing man ever accomplished. It should be grandfathered in.

    1. OK says:

      I’m sure man had bodilyfunctions going long before fire was created, so it would be even more natural if I took a dump on your yard. 🙂

      1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

        Bodily functions are not an “accomplishment” until you’re about 80… 😉

  40. xx says:

    Pretty Simple:
    If your body is bothered by smoke stay indoors out of the wonderful outdoors filled with bugs, mold, smog, smoke, and other great and glorious things.
    Certainly we should not ban fire pits.

    Be safe and breath well and live long.

  41. xx says:

    If we ban fire pits, we ahd better band fireplaces, because the smoke comes out of the chimney and bothers folks.
    That is right, we had also better ban furnaces and hot water heaters because the fumes from burning gas and propane bother folks.
    All right, we certainly can’t be running any cars, or automobiles or buses, because the fumes bother us.

    Where is this society going anyway to even ask such a question?

    1. yy says:

      The purpose of chimneys of fireplaces are to get the smoke up and away from houses. They must be at least a certain height and distances from neighboring houses. Home builders also carefully plan for the exaust of furnaces and water heaters (I don’t know why you think you need to heat hot water, but whatever). Vehicles are being designed better and better to reduce pollution; it is never a goal of car manufactur or a driver to create pollution, it is an unfortunate side effect that most everyone would elimiate if possible.

      Now outdoor firepits are a completely different story. There is no big plan to deal with the smoke, it just fills the neighborhood.

      Where is society going if we give up on the idea of something as basic as clean fresh air?

    2. Tallulah says:

      i realize this is a dead thread, but I have to tell you that in about 1980 the city of Minneapolis did make laws regarding fireplaces and pollution. I think they required new fireplaces to be fitted with something that helped ‘filter’ the smoke. also they limit the number of wood burning fireplaces which can be installed in the city.

  42. wantsomefreshair says:

    Fires in Mpls are to be put out by 10pm.. we have to live with our windows closed spring summer and fall because of fires at all hours. I can live with people having a fire during the day and early evening but follow the law please!!!!! It would be nice to be able to breath.. This is my city and my air too Mr XX your logic just doesn’t make any sense. at least a fireplace gets the smoke higher off the ground, firepits just spread it around on ground lever.

    1. fresh indeed says:

      ground lever fires are the worst

      1. wantssomeblacksmoke says:

        OH NO GROUND LEVER FIRES! These also cause the most damage to the Ground Lever. We only get one, we shouldn’t damage it with these fires.

  43. MrB says:

    I just printed all these comments, 6 pages. Now I’m going to go use it to start a fire in my backyard. Thanks for the fire starter everyone!!

  44. YWNM says:

    64 yr. old female her with COPD, Emphazema and hay fever—And I still love a good fire. Here are a few good suggestions to reduce smoke and pollutants:
    1. make sure your firewood is DRY and aged.
    2. do not use liquid fire starters to get it going.
    3. do not burn your paper plates, styrofoam cups and plastic utensils.
    4 do not burn anything that is wet.
    Most important of all—crank up the tunes, open a beer, pour a glass of wine or fix yourself a stiff one. Kick back, relax and enjoy. It’s party time!

    1. TonyL says:


  45. Elaine says:

    My neighbors all have backyard fires and I would love to have them banned. My neighbors are idiots, burn all kinds of trash, never actually do any recreation with the fire, don’t watch it and will leave it going after they have driven away or gone to bed, and have huge fires next to flammable trees and fences. Between the thick smoke from the fires and my terror that my house is going to burn down because of them, I am completely against the right to have fires in town. I’m sure somewhere people are responsible, but not around here.

    1. I hear that says:

      Same story here. I live in what many concidered a very nice suburb (ok, Money magazine ranked us number one, but that and $3.50 will get you a cafe latte). But after 20 great years, now the last few years make me want to move to the country because of this fairly sudden popularity of backyard fires. Actually there’s only a few that do it often enough to really have changed the neighborhood. I’ve got 20 years of some hard gardening and landscape work in my yard, and now when I go out, it just stinks of smoke. Call me a whiner, but I am just being honest to share that it truly makes me sad, it is such an unfortunate change. I wish the world was different and people cared.

    2. TonyL says:

      If your neighbors are idiots (and it sounds like they are), then deal with them individually and don’t stereotype the rest of us responsible citizens. If all the rec fire fans followed the 4-step advice given by YWNM above, there would be no problems. Properly-sized dry wood fires do not give off that much smoke.

      BTW – Trees are not flammable, they are combustible. Big difference.

  46. Christian Wait says:

    So some random person has a complaint, and that’s enough for a whole story.

    Hey, I’d like authorities to ban farting in elevators. Want to interview me?

    1. Fire Bug says:

      Thank you WCCO for bringing this out in the open, and keep up the good work.

    2. TW says:

      Banning farting in elevators….now that would really chafe my britches. One of the few true stealth opportunities left besides crop dusting at Target. I hope this does not come to pass. Yes, like in pass gas.

  47. Victim Du Jour says:

    Backyard Woodfires keep people at home and out of cars when they use alcohol.

  48. Yibbie says:

    What ? it’s like we live in the U.K. ban this ban that i have better ideas why don’t the people who have no life just shut the front door ! then that smoke won’t bother you or……. MOVE ! out to the middle of no where then no one or anything will bother you !

  49. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    This woman is, well nuts

  50. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    I see the second American Revolution coming

  51. Fire Bug says:

    Mark, they are looking for volunteers to colonize the moon, go pollute that with your smoke.

  52. SD says:

    I understand the concern but a ban? The police need to be out there taking care of REAL crimes. Not wasting my tax dollars policing backyard campfires. We have a government shutdown looming and people are whining about this?

  53. justice fleeting says:

    Here we go again, liberals wanted what’s good for them and to hell with the rest. My fire pit meets local fire code and ordinances. They are controlled, infrequent and oh yes, fun.

    You know what should be banned is Yoga. It can cause muscle pulls, fractures, injure internal organs…….

  54. Gooch says:


  55. James2 says:

    Hey killjoys, stay out of my backyard! Can’t wait till they ban barbecues.

    1. Fire Bug says:

      Place a plastic bag over your yard and enjoy your smoke.

  56. hdmc says:

    stupid hippies.

  57. Rational Randy says:

    We should ban dogs on sidewalks, I am allergic. Also I heard some people are allergic to gluten, we should have a city wide ban on gluten and peanuts…. I heard people are allergic to those also. We should ban cars, trucks and buses, they contribute to 98% of the vehicle admissions in the twin cities.

    1. Randy says:

      People that have asthma shouldn’t try other people from having fun but call up their parents that exposed them to things in the womb, or in early childhood that made them big babies!

      1. Fire Bug says:

        I couldn’t agree more, parents who expose their kids, in the womb, to smoke should be slapped silly.

  58. Ryan says:

    Ban stupid people from having kids……….oh……..and fatties too!

  59. Fire Bug says:


    1. Ryan says:

      nice comments……….loser
      At least I have a woman……

      1. Fire Bug says:

        Do you deflate her in the morning?

        1. :) says:

          Fire Bug gives his women her food and her water dish and then locks her in her kennel when he goes to work at the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic

  60. Carol says:

    Not everyone has central air and can close the windows and switch the air conditioner on. I like the smell of wood burning; just not in my bedroom on a night when it may be harder to breathe anyway. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush, ok? It only happens occasionally so I’m not going to make a big deal out of it since they are not big party people like the prior owners were. Then I had smoke and loudness till sometimes the wee hours of the morning.

  61. common sense please says:

    Lets see if I got this right. People enjoy fires right? And in the neighbor I grew up in all the neighbors would gather and have fun. Now some people are barking about fires. Could that be because nobody in the cities even try to know their neighbors any more. Kids don’t play outdoors and have no social skills. Some people commented on here that if you want a campfire go camping. But what about those who cant afford to go camping. So basically suck it up!!!! You whinny people maybe instead of bitching grab a six pack of beer and join them. But because you are so uptight and have eliminated any chance of getting to know your neighbors. Because you called the cops because their kid rode his bike on your lawn. Or you dont like them because they use chemicals on their lawn…..Lighten up “Francis”

  62. Don says:

    Here we go! Lets open up another nonsense can of worms. The politicians have enough to worry about. However, this will give local officials another chance to get in our wallets. “If you want a back yard fire pit, then fill out the proper reqest forms and send in your $75 annual fee and you can have all the fires you want.” Oh Goody!

  63. WHATEVER!!!!!!!!! says:

    MN blowhards at work. LEts let MN take away one more thing. Hell why don’t we all go into shelters and just be MN’s slaves. SICK OF MN! GLAD I MOVED!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. we says:

    We also need to ban picnics,kids from running through the sprinkler,slip and slides,ice cream trucks,sparklers,and sitting outside in lawn chairs!!!!! Then the world would be a better place to live!!!!!!!!

  65. just sayin says:

    I’ll light a fire whenever I please. You know why? It’s my yard. Have a problem with it? Then move away.

    Heck i’d be running around naked on my yard if I could – I be swinging my hangers for everyone to see.

    Smoke is bad on your lungs blah blah blah – well guess what – you won’t live much longer than 80 yrs anyway, and they’ve been burning for years. So get out and enjoy yourself. Have some fun you whining losers!

    Ban Yoga… I have a friend who says it’s such a work out… LMAO
    Go to the gym with me, I’ll give you a workout.

  66. me again says:


  67. Fire Bug says:

    Back in the 50’s my Mother had neighbors who would start burning trash every time she hung clothes out to dry. One day she got the garden hose and put the fire out, it was an easy reach from the fence. The neighbor lady came out of her house and started yelling at her and soon her husband joined in. That’s when my Mother turned the hose on both of them, it was the last time they started a fire when there was laundry hanging out.

    me again!
    I agree, ban chickens that smoke.

  68. Swamp Fox says:

    Fire-pits in the burbs should be regulated by permits and regulations. Many suburbs have no real policies for such neither do they have any way to properly oversee the misuses of or nuisance fire-pits that plague some neighborhoods. In some ‘burbs fire-pits are an excuse to burn recyclable trash etc. while smelling up the neighborhoods. Why have fire-pits in inner ring [1st tier] suburbs anyway?

    1. :) says:

      Actually most do have regualtions which most state that a recreational fire cant exceed 3’x3′ and that what it should remain. You live in MN not New York City

  69. Geezer says:

    If people only burned clean dry quality wood ther is virtually no smoke.Don’t ban the fire educate the people , but I guess you can’t fix stupid! I f there is excess smoke then hand out a warning notice.

  70. markH says:

    Yes, let’s ban fire pits in the name of safety. While we’re at it, let’s ban bathtubs, outdoor grills, outdoor lighting, motorcycles, etc. If personal safety is truly the goal of such proposals, then my examples fall well within the category of “dangerous.” Peace.

  71. Lindsi Lilledahl Boynton says:

    Seriously?!?! MOVE if you are such a big cry baby about the smell, smoke and sound! Anyone who whines and complains about neighbors having SAFE bon fires in their yards really need to find something better to do with their spare time.
    This post reminds me of our old neighbors in Minnetonka. Pathetically they called the fire marshal to cry to him about it. Our fire pit was approximately 150 feet from their porch window. They said they were allergic to the smoke. First, I don’t buy that. Second CLOSE YOUR WINDOWS! Our city fire marshal replied to the “complaint” with a great response….”as long as I am fire marshal rec. bon fires will NEVER be stopped. And even more funny was the fact that the city referred to our old neighbors as “cry babies.” So my response to all of you who complain about it….
    MOVE to another state! Move to a location where your closest neighbor is miles away from you and I have my next camp fire I’ll make a s’more and toast to you…..being GONE!

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