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Contolled Burns

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  • Contolled Burns

    I'm my area, we get quite a few requests to burn down old houses, barns, sheds,etc.

    I was wondering if other departments have the owner of the building sign a waiver or something releasing the fire department of any liability in case some nearby building should catch on fire or something nearby is damaged due to the burn.

    If so, could I please obtain a copy of that form.

    What's everyone's thoughts on this.


  • #2
    We use to do it here in Michigan, usually notified all surrounding residents. No waivers were ever used. The problem that arose was the EPA jumped all over us and told us this was a no no. :


    • #3
      We still get to do it here once in a while depending where the structure is located. No waivers. The dept. would be liable for other property damage. If the fire extended to another structure, it wouldn't be a controlled burn, would it!


      • #4
        There is so much red tape associated with the EPA, county and city health dept's and so forth that we don't even do them anymore.

        We had a major low-income housing apartment complex sit vacant for months prior to demolition, and all we got to do was RIT training w/o even smoke, because it was next to an 8 lane freeway, and smoke would cause traffic tie-ups, no kidding.

        We do inspections and hydrants instead, thats okay we don't have too many fires nowdays......... sure.


        • #5
          We seldom do burns because of the hassles with air quality,asphalt shingles, asbestous, etc. Our requirements for doing a burn usually discourage property owners.

          Here are some things to do before you drop the match for a controlled burn.

          1. Determine if the owner has clear title to the property. You should be able to find this out at the local courthouse. If there are mulitple owners or liens demand written proof that the owner has legal authority to dispose of the property.

          2. Make sure all utilities have been turned off and disconnected. A phone call to the utility should confirm this. The owner is responsible for having the disconnect done.

          3. Have the owner sign a agreement with the following.

          a. "Hold harmless clause" which means that both parties are responsible for damage or injury to their own people and no suits will be filed.

          b. A statement that the owner has authority to dispose of the property and has removed everything of value from same.

          c. Owner is responsible for any hazardous materials identified prior to the burn.

          d. The owner is responsible for clean up of the property after the burn is completed.

          A local lawyer should be able to write an agreement based on local laws at minimal cost or even donate their time for writing it. Hope this helps.


          • #6
            In Mass the state regulates the issuance of permits to burn. The red tape is relatively simple and I beleve that part of getting the states permission is a waiver of insurance or liability that the donator signs. It isnt bad here but they do tend to only issue 1 per department per year usually, so we get the most out of them by smoke drilling and the lot for weeks before the burn date.


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