It's Okay to Burn in Cape Girardeau today (04/22/24).

Before burning in Cape Girardeau,
please make sure conditions are such that burning is not a public safety hazard. This page is always up-to-date, or you can call the Fire Department Headquarters at 573-339-6330. Other burning-related laws and regulations are listed below for your reference.

Open Burning Regulations
Outdoor Burning Regulations
Relevant City Ordinances
Relevant State Regulations
International Fire Code

Open Burning Regulations

Burn Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

No burning of building materials will be permitted. This open burning prohibition includes, but is not limited to, tires, rubber products, asbestos-containing material, hazardous material, Styrofoam, plastics, petroleum-based products, treated wood, and other refuse. 

  1. No burning on excessively windy or dry days.
  2. Do not burn under power, telephone, or TV cable lines.
  3. No fires within 50 feet of any structure.
  4. Burn only vegetative waste, small tree limbs, leaves, and garden waste.
  5. Fires must be attended at all times until extinguished.
  6. Fires must have a rake and water hose close.
  7. Ceremonial fires must be no larger than 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet (5’ X 5’ X 5’).
  8. Burn piles 10 feet by 10 feet by 5 feet (10’ X 10’ X 5’) will require a burning permit from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department.
  9. Fires must be completely extinguished no later than 5 p.m.
  10. If a complaint is called in or received by the Fire Department because of heavy smoke or odor, the fire may be required to be extinguished immediately.

Land clearing operations will require a Missouri DNR Permit. Contact DNR at 573-840-9750. This is in addition to the CGFD Burn Permit. Any questions please call the Cape Girardeau Fire Department at 339-6330.

Outdoor Burning Regulations

The following is a list of the ordinance restrictions and code requirements for individuals and excavating contractors who wish to do outdoor burning within the city limits of Cape Girardeau. This information comes from the Missouri Code of State Regulations, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 2015 International Fire Code, and the City of Cape Girardeau Code of Ordinances. These are being issued to answer and clarify any questions which may arise about what is and is not allowed, and what is required to conduct open burning.

City of Cape Girardeau Ordinances

Section 307 Open Burning Restrictions:

Refuse burning restrictions. The following restrictions shall apply to the burning of refuse:

Prohibition of salvage operations by open burning. No person shall conduct or cause or permit the conduct of salvage operations by open burning.

Designation of "no burn" days. The Fire Chief or his designee is hereby authorized to designate individual days as "no burn" days for all open burning within the city. On days designated "no burn" days, all open burning is prohibited, except cooking fires and any fires specifically permitted by the Fire Chief or his designee. On all other days, open burning shall be allowed, subject to any applicable restrictions contained in the City Code. The designation of "no burn" days shall be subject to the discretion of the Fire Chief or his designee, but shall be based upon one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Atmospheric conditions that prevent smoke from rising freely.
  2. When excessively dry conditions exist.

  3. Sustained winds greater than fifteen (15) miles per hour.

  4. Frequent wind gusts greater than twenty-five (25) miles per hour.

Restrictions on open burning of tree leaves and yard waste. The open burning of leaves and yard waste, as defined in Section 22-26 of the City Code of Ordinances, shall be allowed, but only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., unless otherwise authorized by the Fire Chief or his designee.

Burning in the street is prohibited. No open burning of any kind shall be allowed in the paved portion of any public street.

Permits for the purpose of open burning are acquired from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department at no cost to the individual. The permits are valid only on the day for which they are issued. Most open burning will be restricted to the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis. The Cape Girardeau Fire Department will not issue a permit for open burning for a land-clearing operation unless a permit has first been acquired from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MO DNR). The MO DNR Permit must be kept on site and be presented to the Fire Department Official for review. The phone number for the Poplar Bluff DNR Office is 573-840-9750.

Campfires and other fires used solely for recreational purposes, ceremonial occasions, or for outdoor non-commercial preparation of food, are exempt from the required permits. A bonfire/ceremonial fire shall be no larger than 5 feet in length by 5 feet in width by 5 feet in height and not burn longer than 3 hours. Any brush/burn piles that are not part of a land clearing operation and that are larger that 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet in size (brush piles shall not be larger than 10 feet by 10 feet by 5 feet maximum) will require a Permit for Open Burning from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department but not a MO DNR Permit.

Code of State Regulations 

Title 10 CSR 10-3.030 Open Burning Restrictions

  1. Prohibition of Salvage Operations by Open Burning. No person may conduct cause, permit or allow the disposal of trade waste, construction waste, salvage operation waste, or demolition project waste by open burning. This open burning prohibition includes, but is not limited to: Tires, rubber products, asbestos-containing material, hazardous material, Styrofoam, plastics, petroleum-based products, treated wood, and other refuse.
  2. The open burning of certain trade wastes and vegetation may be permitted only when it can be shown that an emergency exists which requires open burning, or when it can be shown that open burning is the only safe or feasible method of disposal. Economic consideration shall not be the primary determinant of feasibility. Any person intending to engage in open burning shall file an application with and receive written approval from the Staff Director. Call 573-840-9750 to acquire an application.


2015 International Fire Code

Section 307.2 A permit shall be obtained from the code official in accordance with Section 105.6 prior to kindling a fire for recognized silvicultural or range or wildlife management practices, prevention or control of disease or pests, or a bonfire. Application for such approval shall only be presented by and permits issued to the owner of the land upon which the fire is to be kindled.

Section 307.1.1 Prohibited open burning. Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited. 

Section 307.4 Location. Location for open burning shall not be less than 50 feet from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure.


  1. Fires in approved containers that are not less than 15 feet from a structure.
  2. The minimum distance from a structure shall be 25 feet where the pile size is 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height.

Section 307.5 Attendance. Open burning, bonfires, or recreational fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with Section 906 with a minimum 4A rating or other approved on-site fire extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

  • Contact Info
  • 1 South Sprigg Street Cape Girardeau, MO 63703
  • Telephone 573.339.6330
  • Email [email protected]