Our unusually warm winter and spring have allowed many Minnesotans to keep doing those things we usually only do during the warm weather months. But if one of those things is firing up your grill, make sure you're not violating this law.

I don't know about you, but one of the best smells of spring and summer here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is the smell of a big 'ol burger or steak, cooking away over the open flame of a charcoal or gas grill or smoker. (Heck, just the smell of any charcoal grill right after you lit the coals is a great smell too.)

But are you violating a local city ordinance when you fire up your grill? Unless you live in a rural township, you just might be. And, of course, ordinances vary from city to city. But take for instance THIS municipal ordinance that's in effect for the city I live in, which is Rochester, Minnesota.

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The Rochester Fire Department has published THIS list of fire requirements and while it covers recreational fires in fire pits, there's also a section that pertains to grills and smokers as well. Your local fire department likely has a similar set of requirements.

CSJ/Townsquare Media-Rochester, MN
CSJ/Townsquare Media-Rochester, MN

Here's a tidbit that stood out: The Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 141 states  that: "Fire extinguishing equipment such as buckets, shovels, garden hose or fire extinguisher, having a 4A rating, must be available to extinguish and control the fire."

Do you have a fire extinguisher near your grill? I know we have a fire extinguisher in a closet upstairs, and we do have a hose in the backyard. But neither is close enough to our backyard upstairs deck, which is where our grill is located. I guess I'm in violation!

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And, it goes on to say, "When using charcoal, properly dispose of the ashes in a metal disposal container outside of the building." Whoops-- here's another violation. While I usually wait until the coals are completely cool before I clean the ashes out, I then put them in our garbage can outside, which, like most residential garbage containers in Minnesota, is made of... plastic. Another violation.

Now, seeing as those ashes are no longer warm when I put them in the plastic garbage contain, I'd guess it's really not much of a fire hazard-- but technically, it looks like I'm in violation of the said ordinance. Are you too? (I won't tell the fire department if you won't... 😉)

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