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Linn County Front Page News

Posted on: April 7, 2022

Deadline Set for Open Burning of Derecho Vegetative Debris in Urban Service Area

Logs burning

Residents who live in unincorporated Linn County within the half-mile buffer zone around the cities of Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha (zoned as Urban Services Residential - USR) have until June 30, 2022 to openly burn any vegetative debris remaining from the August 2020 derecho. Typically, open burning in this half-mile buffer zone is not allowed for properties zoned USR; however, the Linn County Board of Supervisors made an exception following the derecho due to the amount of damage it caused.

Residents who live within this buffer zone and want to burn vegetative/tree debris from the August 2020 derecho must apply for a permit by calling Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6000. Linn County Public Health has waived the fee for these permits in the Urban Services Area. Opening burning permits are required so that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments are aware of the potential for open burning. Residents must request permits by Friday, June 17, 2022. 

Residents who live in unincorporated Linn County outside of the half-mile buffer zone, or within the buffer zone and not zoned USR, are required to obtain open burning permits through the regular online application portal from Linn County Public Health or by calling 319-892-6000.

Open Burning Rules

  • Open burning is prohibited in the cities of Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha.
  • Open burning is prohibited at properties classified as USR within one-half mile of Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha except as allowed under the Board of Supervisors exception for vegetative debris from the 2020 derecho. This exception expires June 30, 2022.
  • Permits are required for all open burning activities in Linn County unless the activity meets exemption requirements in the local ordinance.
  • A landowner may only burn landscape waste from their own property; they cannot burn material transported to their property from another property. Only a municipal site operated by a local governmental entity may openly burn trees and tree trimmings originating from another property with the proper permits.
  • Landowners in the half-mile buffer zone and zoned USR may only burn vegetative debris derived from the August 2020 derecho.
  • Burning shall only occur from a half hour after sunrise to a half hour before sunset. Fires must be fully extinguished and are not allowed to smolder or burn overnight. 
  • Burning shall not be conducted when wind speeds exceed 15 mph.
  • Secondary fuels including gasoline, diesel, or rubber tires shall not be used to ignite landscape waste.
  • Maximize the separation distance from the fire to any structure or combustible materials.  
  • Have a plan for fire extinguishment, such as a garden hose connected to a water outlet that is long enough to reach the fire.    
  • Other Linn County municipalities may have additional local restrictions more restrictive than Linn County rules. Please check with your local officials before starting an open burn.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.



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