Open Burning - Bonfires, Recreational Fires and Agricultural Burning

The (outdoor) burning of refuse (trash), leaves and trimmings is prohibited in Manheim Township. – Manheim Township Ordinance 2004-8: amended section 307.2.2.

Exception: An active agricultural farming operation with ten (10) or more acres of property is permitted to burn agricultural commodities in their unmanufactured state. No household refuse (trash), recyclables, construction materials, or similar materials may be burned. An annual Fire Permit (PDF) is required for an agricultural burn.  The permit expires at the end of the current calendar year. In addition to obtaining this permit, you will be required to inform County-wide dispatch prior to the start of each burn. Review the Agricultural Fire Permit Supplement (PDF) prior to starting open agricultural open burning. The annual Agricultural Burning Permit/Fire Permit fee is $15.00 ($10.50 permit fee + $4.50 PA UCC Fee)

Recreational Fires

While Recreational Fires do not require a fire permit, they must comply with the following conditions:

  • No refuse (trash), recyclables, construction materials, leaves or trimmings may be burned.
  • Fires must be three (3) feet or less in diameter and two (2) feet or less in heights.
  • Fires shall be at least 25 feet from any structure, property line and combustible material.
  • Only dried seasoned wood may be burned.
  • Fires shall be in a pit or contained by a protective barrier.
  • A garden hose or portable fire extinguisher (minimum 4-A rating) must be available for immediate use.
  • Fires must be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished.
  • The recreational fire must be completely extinguished no later than 10 PM.

Bonfire

Definition: An outdoor fire used for ceremonial purposes which is more than three (3) feet in diameter and more than two (2) feet in height.

A Fire Permit is required for a bonfire. In addition to completing the Fire Permit Application (PDF), you will need to submit two (2) copies of a site plan showing the location of the bonfire with distances to all buildings and property lines indicated. The date, start and end time of the event and any rain date must be provided on the permit application. The Bonfire/Fire Permit Fee is $15.00 per occurrence ($10.50 permit fee + $4.50 PA UCC Fee)

You may request a copy of a site plan of the event property by contacting the Planning and Zoning Department. Be sure to include the street address of the event property on your request.

Bonfires must comply with the following conditions:

  • The minimum required distance from a building is fifty (50) feet.
  • A garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating shall be available for immediate use.
  • Bonfires must be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished.
  • Bonfires shall be extinguished no later than 10 PM.

Important Note Regarding Open Burning

Any open burning which is offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make any such fire (agricultural burning of by-products, recreational and bonfires) hazardous shall be prohibited by the Fire Code Official.

A Township Code Official, Fire Officer or Police Officer is authorized to order the extinguishment of any burning which creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation.

How to Report a Violation of the Open Burning Ordinance

To report the violation of any of the above conditions, or any open burning which is offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions, or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such a fire hazardous, please call the non-emergency dispatch number 717-664-1180, while the offense is happening.

For any other questions regarding Open Burning, do not hesitate to contact the Code Compliance Department.

Administrative Order #2017 - 1 Guidelines for Open Burning, Recreational Fires and Bonfires