[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Niskayuna 5-19-1970; amended in its entirety 9-29-2015 by L.L. No. 4-2015. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board recognizes that outdoor open burning of material poses a threat to life and property and may create a nuisance. It is the purpose of this chapter to ensure that the safety, health, and welfare of the residents and property in the Town are protected by prohibiting open fires except as specifically permitted herein.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- Niskayuna Fire District No. 1, Niskayuna Fire District No. 2 or Stanford Heights Fire District, as applicable.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and serving of food.
- OPEN BURNING
- The burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber. Open burning does not include road flares, smudgepots and similar devices associated with safety or occupational uses typically considered open flames or recreational fires. For the purpose of this definition, a chamber shall be regarded as enclosed when, during the time combustion occurs, only apertures, ducts, stacks, flues or chimneys necessary to provide combustion air and permit the escape of exhaust gas are open.
- PORTABLE FIREPLACE
- A structure or device intended to contain and control outdoor wood fires. This shall include a structure, which may or may not be a portable, manufactured fireplace or similar device, is designed to contain and control outdoor wood fires. The device shall have a screen or other protective cover to prevent sparks and embers from being distributed.
- RECREATIONAL FIRE
- An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of three feet (914 mm) or less in diameter and two feet (610 mm) or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
- All waste material, including but not limited to garbage, rubbish, incinerator residue, street sweepings, dead animals and offal.
No person, firm or corporation shall build any outdoor fire within the corporate limits of the Town of Niskayuna excepting as set forth in § 107-4 or as prohibited by any federal, state or other local law, rule, or regulation.
The applicable Fire Chief or Fire Department command personnel are permitted to prohibit any or all bonfires and outdoor fires when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous. If, in the opinion of the applicable Fire Chief or Fire Department command personnel, such conditions or circumstances exist, then he/she shall have the authority to declare that any and all burning shall cease and desist immediately until further notice.
Outdoor cooking over a fire contained in a device or structure designed for such use.
Material used to make a cooking fire cannot be construction debris, trash, or rubbish.
All cooking devices must be in good working condition to prevent the possible spread of fire.
For all multifamily dwellings, more than one story in height, the use and/or storage of any propane or charcoal portable cooking device or any portable fireplace device is strictly prohibited above the first-floor occupancy.
For all multifamily dwellings more than one story in height, the use of any open or closed outdoor cooking device, any portable fireplace device, or any open flame device is prohibited within 25 feet of the structure on the ground floor or any combustible material on the ground.
Use of a portable fireplace.
Use of a recreational fire.
It is the intent of the Town of Niskayuna that citizens have the opportunity to have recreational fires at single-, two-, or three-family dwellings, provided that such fires are in strict compliance with the restrictions relating to recreational fires. It is further the intent of the Town of Niskayuna that the applicable Fire Department shall strictly enforce these restrictions so as to ensure that such fires do not compromise safety or annoy neighbors. Such enforcement shall require an investigation into any complaint and an independent determination by the Fire Department as to whether a particular recreational fire is in compliance with these regulations.
The use of a burn barrel or similar nonapproved device is illegal.
No recreational fire may be started or allowed to continue burning unless such recreational fire is contained in an approved fireplace or similar device.
No recreational fire, portable fireplace or similar device shall be closer than 25 feet from any building, structure, shed, garage, fence, or any combustible material.
All recreational fires shall not have a fuel diameter larger than three feet nor a height greater than two feet, nor may the fire extend more than one foot above the burning surface. The fireplace or similar device shall be surrounded on the outside by a noncombustible material such as concrete block or rocks and placed upon a noncombustible surface. Manufactured devices must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and these regulations.
No recreational fire shall be started or allowed to continue burning when the wind direction or wind speed will cause smoke, embers, or other burning materials to be carried by the wind toward any building or other combustible materials. Smoke from any recreational fire shall not create a nuisance for neighboring property owners. The fire shall be completely extinguished immediately upon the complaint of any nuisance smoke.
Material for recreational fires, portable fireplaces or similar devices shall not include rubbish, garbage, refuse, recyclable items, paper/cardboard (other than what is needed to start the fire), yard debris, construction debris, pressure-treated wood, trash or any material made of petroleum-based materials and shall not contain any flammable or combustible liquids, except for devices which are designed to burn LP gas. Such LP gas devices shall not use the LP gas as an accelerant for other flammable materials.
Material for recreational fires, portable fireplaces or similar devices shall be only seasoned firewood or manufactured logs such as a Duraflame® log.
Recreational fires, portable fireplaces or similar devices shall not be used on a combustible surface such as a wooden deck.
Recreational fires, portable fireplaces or similar devices shall not be used on any balcony, porch, or deck above grade level.
Adequate fire suppression equipment shall be immediately available to control or extinguish the recreational fire, such as a fully functioning fire extinguisher or garden hose connected to an unlimited water source.
All recreational fires, portable fireplaces or similar devices shall be attended at all times by at least one responsible person of age 18 or older from the ignition of the fire until the fire is completely extinguished.
The property owner and/or person who has started any recreational fire, portable fireplace or similar device shall hold the Town harmless from any damages caused by a recreational fire.
Any party who has started or maintains a recreational fire, portable fireplace or similar device as defined shall pay any and all costs incurred by the applicable Fire Department for any service-related call as a result of a recreational fire not in compliance with these requirements, if deemed necessary by the applicable Fire Chief.
Ceremonial campfires or bonfires are allowed with prior written approval of the Fire Chief or his/her designee.
No materials may be burned upon any street, curb, gutter, sidewalk, or other public place.
Persons utilizing and maintaining outdoor fires shall be responsible for any liability resulting from damage caused by his/her fire.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a violation and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $250 or imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 days, or both.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Town's Code Enforcement Officer, members of the Town of Niskayuna Police Department, and applicable Fire Department personnel.