Burning Ordinances

Outdoor and Open Burning Ordinance for the Township of Summit, Michigan 
Effective February 18, 2008


  • "Campfire" means a small outdoor fire intended for recreation or cooking but not including a fire intended for disposal of waste wood or refuse.
  • "Clean wood" means natural wood which has not been painted, varnished or coated with a similar material; has not been pressure treated with preservatives; and does not contain resins or glues as in plywood or other composite wood products.
  • “Construction and demolition waste” means building waste materials, including but not limited to waste shingles, insulation, lumber, treated wood, painted wood, wiring, plastics, packaging, and rubble that results from construction, remodeling, repair, and demolition operations on a house, commercial or industrial building, or other structure.
  • “Nuisance” means the burning of any material of any kind exuding smoke which may endanger the public, or safety or health of the public, or to disturb the comfort or repose of any person residing in the vicinity of the open burning, or which causes excessive or noxious odors, or when such open burning emits sparks, embers, or smoke upon adjacent or nearby premises.
  • "Open burning" means kindling or maintaining a fire where the products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or a chimney. 
  • “Refuse" means any waste material including but not limited to leaves, grass, garbage and other organic refuse, construction and demolition waste materials, automobiles or parts thereof, flammable, toxic or explosive materials, electrical wiring, rubber products and plastic products.

Open burning and outdoor burning are prohibited in the Township of Summit unless the burning is specifically permitted by this ordinance.

Open burning of refuse from all residential, office, commercial and industrial is prohibited.


  • Open burning of trees, stumps, leaves and grass clippings are prohibited.
  • Open burning of logs six (6) inches in diameter or less and brush is allowed only in accordance with all of the following provisions:
  • A permit issued in accordance with the Burning Permit section of this Ordinance must be obtained prior to open burning under this section.
  • Open burning of logs, and brush must be conducted at least 1,400 feet from an incorporated city or village limit.
  • Except for barbecue, gas, and charcoal grills, no open burning shall be undertaken during periods when the Governor of Michigan has issued a burning ban applicable to the area.
  • All allowed open burning shall be conducted in a safe, nuisance-free manner, when wind and weather conditions minimize adverse effects and do not create a health hazard or a visibility hazard on roadways, railroads or airfields.  Open burning shall be conducted in conformance with all Summit Township and state fire protection regulations.  
  • Open burning shall be conducted only on the property on which the materials were generated. 
  • Outdoor campfires and small bonfires for cooking, ceremonies, or recreation are allowed provided they do not cause a nuisance.
  • Open burning including camp fires under this section shall only be conducted at a location at least twenty five (25) feet from the nearest building which is not on the same property and at a minimum fifteen (15) feet of any building or property line which is on the same property.
  • Except for campfires, open burning shall only be conducted between the hours of sunrise and sunset. Camp fires may be authorized between sunset and 12:00 a.m. midnight by contacting the Fire Department
  • Open burning shall be constantly attended and supervised by a competent person of at least eighteen (18) years of age until the fire is extinguished and is cold.   The person shall have readily available for use such fire extinguishing equipment as may be necessary for the total control of the fire.
  • No materials may be burned upon any street, curb, gutter or sidewalk or on the ice of a lake, pond, stream or waterbody.
  • Except for barbecue, gas, and charcoal grills, no burning shall be undertaken within twenty five (25) feet from any combustible material, combustible wall or partition, exterior window opening, exit access or exit unless authorized by the Fire Chief.
  • No open burning may be conducted on days when the Department of Environmental Quality has declared an “air quality action day” applicable to the Township of Summit

No person shall start or maintain any outdoor burning, open burning or camp fire covered under this ordinance without a burning permit issued by the Summit Township Fire Department.   

  • The Summit Township Fire Department shall have specific authority to revoke permits and it shall be a violation of this ordinance to refuse or fail to extinguish a fire when a permit has been revoked, or the property owner is requested to extinguish such fire by a Summit Township Fire Department employee.
  • When weather conditions warrant, the Fire Chief or designee may temporarily suspend issuing burning permits and may temporarily suspend previously issued burning permits for open burning.
  • A burning permit issued under this section shall require compliance with all applicable provisions of this ordinance and any additional special restrictions deemed necessary to protect public health and safety.
  • Any violation of the conditions of a burning permit shall be deemed a violation of this ordinance. Any violation of this ordinance or the burning permit shall void the permi

A person utilizing or maintaining any outdoor fire which necessitates control and/or extinguishment by the Summit Township Fire Department, or any other Fire Department shall be responsible for all fire suppression costs and any other liability resulting from damage caused by the fire.

The Fire Chief or any authorized officer, agent, employee or representative of the Township of Summit who presents credentials may inspect any property for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with the provisions of this ordinance.


  • This Ordinance may be enforced by any County Deputy Sheriff or Police Officer, and/or any Summit Township employee or person who is duly sworn to act by the Township Clerk.
  • Any person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, or governmental entity who violates any of the provisions of this ordinance or fails to comply with a duly authorized Order issued pursuant to this ordinance shall be deemed to be responsible for a municipal civil infraction as defined by Michigan Statute which shall be punishable by civil fine determined in accordance with the Summit Township Municipal Civil Infraction Ordinance.
  • The violator shall pay costs which may include all expenses, direct and indirect, which the Township of Summit has incurred in connection with the municipal infraction. In no case, however, shall costs of less than nor more than is in accordance with the Summit Township Municipal Civil Infraction Ordinance be ordered. In addition, the Township shall have the right to proceed in any court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of obtaining an injunction, restraining order, or other appropriate remedy to compel compliance with this Ordinance. Each day that a violation of this Ordinance exists shall constitute a separate violation of this Ordinance.