Township of Swatara, PA
Lebanon County
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[Ord. 2006-70, 2/9/2006]
This Part shall be known and cited as the "Swatara Township Burning Ordinance."
[Ord. 2006-70, 2/9/2006]
The purpose of this Part is to prevent needless public damage to life and property because of public and private nuisances caused by outdoor fires deliberately or carelessly set and maintained.
[Ord. 2006-70, 2/9/2006]
For the purposes of this Part, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein:
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire contained in an incinerator, fireplace or cooking grill or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking, or a fireproof container.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Township's appointed Code Enforcement Officer shall be designated enforcement officer under this Part, or any other person designated by resolution of the Swatara Township Board of Supervisors.
FIRE
Any fire set or maintained outside a building.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, organization, association, agency, firm, estate, or corporation and any other legal or commercial entity.
RESPONSIBLE ADULT
Any individual 18 years or older who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from any other disability which would impair his or her ability to properly supervise a fire.
UNCONTAINED FIRE
Any fire not included in the definition of a "contained fire."
[Ord. 2006-70, 2/9/2006]
1. 
Compliance with Part.
A. 
It shall be unlawful to burn, ignite, incinerate, maintain or permit to burn any materials whatsoever, of whatever nature, without complying with the terms and conditions of this Part.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent fire-fighting training by Township-designated fire-fighting organizations.
2. 
Public roads and public properties. No person shall set, start, feed, permit to burn or maintain any fire upon any of the streets, sidewalks, alleys or public grounds in the Township, except where a designated area has been set aside or reserved for this purpose and an appropriate container has been provided to contain such fire.
3. 
Restrictions on lots of less than one acre. It shall be unlawful to burn, ignite, incinerate, maintain or permit to burn any materials whatsoever, of whatever nature, upon a lot less than one acre in size.
4. 
Safe distances.
A. 
It shall be unlawful to allow any fire, including cooking, within 30 feet from any building or 20 feet from any adjoining property line.
B. 
No fire shall be set, started, fed, permitted to burn or maintained where such fire may endanger any building or property, except where such building or property is used by the Fire Department for training purposes.
C. 
Outdoor fires shall be allowed only upon private property and shall take place at least 30 feet from any building, or 20 feet from any property line or road line.
D. 
Cooking grills may be less than 30 feet from a building, in any zoning district, provided that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
E. 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit indoor cooking activities, provided that reasonable safeguards are maintained.
5. 
Control of burning and unattended fires.
A. 
No fire shall be allowed to burn unattended without a responsible adult being present at all times and without readily available fire-extinguishing apparatus.
B. 
No fire shall be permitted to burn whenever a drought or extreme weather conditions exist or when a ban on burning has been placed into effect by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or other competent governmental body. The Board of Supervisors may prohibit any and all outdoor fires when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous.
C. 
No fire shall be set that results in uncontrolled burning of vegetation (field fire).
D. 
Outdoor fires shall be confined in a noncombustible container, covered with a wire screen of one-half-inch or smaller mesh, or in other suitable noncombustible containers, except for fires of leaves, brush, and/or natural, untreated wood, which need not be confined to a noncombustible container.
6. 
Extinguishing unsafe fires. It is a violation of this Part for any person to allow any fire to burn under adverse weather conditions or unsupervised or otherwise in an unsafe manner. Any such fire may be extinguished by an official of the Township's designated fire company or extinguished immediately upon request of such official.
7. 
Days and hours.
A. 
No person shall burn or cause to be burned any paper, boxes, rubbish, leaves, or any other kind of substance, nor shall any person or persons set or maintain any uncontained fire, or burn or cause to be burned any uncontained fire of any substance or material of any kind, outdoors, anywhere in the Township, on any Sunday, or on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day.
B. 
No person shall burn, cause to be burned, or allow smoldering of any paper, boxes, rubbish, leaves or any other kind of substance, nor shall any person or persons set or maintain any uncontained fire, burn, cause to be burned, or allow smoldering of any uncontained fire or substance or material of any kind, out-of-doors, anywhere in the Township between dusk and dawn.
[Amended by Ord. 2015-04, 8/13/2015[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: this ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Subsection 7C and the renumbering of former Subsection 7D as Subsection 7C.
C. 
Recreational fires using natural, untreated wood and containing a fuel source of no more than eight cubic feet are permitted at any time so long as they comply with all other provisions of this Part.
8. 
Unlawful substances.
A. 
Burning of construction debris, plastics, by-products of manufacturing and processing operations, and wastes from commercial operations is strictly prohibited.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to permit or encourage the burning of any substance determined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be a hazardous substance; nor shall any fire be permitted to burn by any person if such burning is in violation of the Air Pollution Control Act[2] or other legislation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America or any other competent body.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 4000 et seq.
C. 
No garbage or offal may be burned at any time, either indoors or outdoors.
D. 
Fires shall be used only to burn readily combustible materials.
9. 
Special circumstances. In the event that it is necessary to have an uncontained fire of a size and/or at times other than allowed under this Part, special permission must be obtained in advance from the Lebanon County Emergency Management Agency or its designee. In the event that any fire company is required to respond to a fire which violates the provisions of this Part, a service fee may be levied by the responding fire company.
[Ord. 2006-70, 2/9/2006]
1. 
Sanctions. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Part shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $1,000, together with costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of any such fine and costs, shall be committed to the Lebanon County Prison for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense and violation for which summary conviction may be sought. The costs of prosecution shall include all attorney's fees incurred by Swatara Township in the prosecution and all prosecution-related costs and expenses.
2. 
Equitable and other remedies. No penalty herein shall prevent the Township from enforcing this Part by equitable, injunctive and other remedies.
3. 
Liability. The Township, its agents, officials, and representatives shall not, under any circumstances, be liable for damages caused to any person or property by reason of the provisions of this Part, or by reason of the conduct of any burning activity in compliance with the terms and provisions of this Part. The person or party responsible for any such fire shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.