Follow this process if you are having health or nuisance problems caused by a neighbor's smoky appliance or recreational burning.
Give your neighbor a chance to be a ‘good’ neighbor
Most people are responsible and willing to help if asked in a polite, non-threatening manner.
Calmly tell your neighbor what the problem is. You may find that your neighbor is not aware that they are affecting your property or your health. Give them a copy of one of the following documents:
- Requirements for recreational fires — what must be done to start or maintain a recreational fire in all of Minnesota, which is a fire less than 3 foot in diameter and 2 foot high. Larger fires require an open burning permit from DNR.
- Best burn practices (US EPA)
- Proper installation and maintenance of a wood-burning heater (US EPA)
- If a newer unit is being considered, a list of EPA-certified wood-burning room heater models such as woodstoves, fireplace inserts, built-in wood heaters and wood pellet stoves, and for central heaters such as hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces.
Contact your local officials
Recreational fires (e.g. backyard campfire)
All recreational fires must be in compliance with fire safety requirements enforced by local fire departments.
If this issue is perceived by your city or township to be a broad or ongoing problem, they may adopt an ordinance that addresses backyard fires. Some communities have already adopted ordinances to restrict backyard recreational fires, including some cities participating in the Green Step Cities program. If your city is a Green Step City, this may be a good way to incorporate action.
Call your city or township to find out if there is an ordinance or code for these boilers. Many Minnesota local governments have adopted ordinances addressing heating appliances such as outdoor wood furnaces (also known as boilers). You can also direct them to MPCA's model ordinances.
Connect with neighbors who are affected by wood smoke to bring your concern to your local government.
Reach out to MPCA staff