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Send leaves and garden material to compost site

A recent question presented to the Police Department related to the open burning of leaves and garden waste. With our extremely dry conditions it is not only a bad idea to burn, it is illegal. West Fargo City Ordinance 12-0708 prohibits open burning of solid waste. Leaves, branches and garden waste are included.


1. A person may not discard and abandon any litter, furniture, or major appliances upon public property or upon private property not owned by that person, unless the property is designated for the disposal of litter, furniture, or major appliances and that person is authorized to use the property for that purpose.

2. A person may not engage in the open burning of solid waste, unless the burning is conducted in accordance with rules adopted by the department.

3. A person violating this section is guilty of an infraction for which a minimum fine of one hundred dollars ($100) must be imposed, except if the litter discarded and abandoned amounted to more than one (1) cubic foot [0.0283 cubic meters] in volume or if the litter consisted of furniture or a major appliance, the offense is a class B misdemeanor.

Section 2 of the ordinance does provide for an exemption for the prohibited act. A person intending to burn must apply for a burn permit through the West Fargo Fire Department. The Fire Chief may grant the permit based upon the requestor's burning plan and the benefits received from burning versus other disposal methods. The Fire Chief will establish conditions and limitations for the burning process. Failure to secure a burn permit prior to burning may result in a fine up to $1000 and/ or 30 days in jail.

Open burning can pose a threat to your property and the property of others. The smoke and odors produced through burning can also be a nuisance or even a health threat to persons with serious health conditions.

The City of West Fargo provides composing sites throughout the city for the collection of leaves and garden waste. You can call the sanitation department at 433-5405 for the collection site locations. Braches and shrubs can be bundled and left curbside for pick- up on your normally scheduled garbage collection day.

Don't get burned with a fine for open burning.