FAQ'S

DO I NEED A BURN PERMIT?

Yes and No.

If you are burning recreationally, in a fire ring or fire pit no larger than 36" in diameter, then no. There may still be some burning restrictions due to wind or drought. 

If your fire is tree debris, leaves, your pile is larger than 36" in diameter or not contained in an approved ring or pit, then yes.

There are also burning restrictions within the city limits of Fort Calhoun. Generally open burning is restricted to certain time of the year, usually for about a week, and those times are determined by the city. We cannot issue you a permit to burn within the city limits unless it's during their prescribed burning period.

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN I GET A PERMIT TO BURN?

One of the many inquiries we at the department get are for burn permits. This section is to help you in understanding the BURN PERMITS.

There are 2 basic types of burn permits that we deal with,

  • Permits to burn outdoor waste, such as tree limbs, brush, etc.

  • Permits to burn structures for demolition, such as houses, barns, etc.

Permits to burn outdoor waste, such as tree limbs, brush, etc.
The Nebraska state law says:
In accordance with State Statute 81-520.01 (1) There shall be a statewide open burning ban on all bonfires, outdoor rubbish fires, and fires for the purpose of clearing land.

Before any open burning is done, a permit must be obtained from the local fire chief or his/her designee on a form prescribed by the State Fire Marshal.

What this means is that if you desire to open burn, you MUST obtain a permit in advance and have it on your person when you are conducting the burn. The instructions on how to get a permit are in the "How" section below.

Permits to burn structures for demolition, such as houses, barns, etc.
On occasion, we are contacted to burn a structure. Nebraska state law says:
State Statute 28-506 allows for "structures as condemned by law, structures no longer having any value for habitation or business or no longer serving any useful value in the area in which situated, and any other combustible material that will serve to be used for test fires to educate and train members of organized fire departments and promote fire safety anywhere in Nebraska" to be destroyed by burning.

"Before the structure may be destroyed by fire for training and educational purposes" a permit must be obtained from the State Fire Marshal. The local fire chief must complete the first page of the permit. The second page requires the owner to give permission for the burn and their signature be notarized.

What this means is that if you desire to demolish a structure by fire, you must contact us to get the paperwork started.
It is understood that there is a place for open burning. Clearing ditches, removal of yard waste are just a couple. However there are many reasons why there are burning laws in place, for instance to protect you and your neighbors. With the dry weather that we can experience in our area, the vast amount of fuel (CRP ground, etc), and the population expansion; it is getting more and more dangerous for open burning. Therefore, the laws are in place to minimize the likelihood of problems associated with open burning.

The burn ban stated above is a law. If you are caught burning without an approved permit, you are subject to punishment as dictated by the law. Please ensure the safety of you and your neighbors by allowing us to do our job to control the open burning process in our district.

HOW DO I GET A BURN PERMIT?

To obtain a permit for burning brush, yard waste, etc. Permits will only be issued in person on the Second, Third, and last Wednesday nights of each month, from 6:30 PM until 7:00 PM at the fire station.

Or, you can visit fc.burnpermits.com and obtain one online there is a $10 fee for using the online service to cover the costs associated with the service.
Please plan ahead when you are pursuing a permit. Our people are volunteers who have family, jobs, etc. and issuing permits is one of the many duties expected from these individuals.
Be aware that when you request a permit, the department has the right to come on your property to inspect the proposed burn site and ensure you are following safe practices during the burn. Also be aware that YOU are responsible if the burn gets out of control.
In addition, burn permits are not a right.

HOW DO I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

Few jobs offer you the opportunity to save a life. But as a volunteer firefighter, you could be called upon to do it at a moment's notice. That's why we need people with a strong desire to help others. And people with courage and dedication to do the job they do.

Because this job is so important, we make sure all our volunteer firefighters are expertly trained and properly equipped. So if you want to do something important for your community and are willing to take on a challenging job, fill out the application and come down to the firehouse the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm. For your efforts, you may receive the best reward any job can give. The application can be found HERE.