City of Newton Burning Regulations

Open Burning
Open burning is the process of burning any materials where the products of combustion pass directly into the open air without going through a chimney or stack. A recreational fire is the only type of open burning allowed.  All other open burning is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: Burning leaves or brush piles, garbage, tires or rubber products, paint or used oil, plastic, and any household material that can be recycled.

Recreational Fires

  1. Recreational fires are permitted as long as they are a minimum 25 feet away from a structure or combustible material.
    • Exceptions: One-and two-family dwellings. And, campgrounds that meet applicable zoning requirements for the City of Newton and Meet NFPA 1194 Standards Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds Section 6.1.6 Campfire Locations.
  2. Fires shall be no larger than 4 feet in diameter and flames shall be no larger than two feet high and be contained in a non-combustible ring.
  3. A portable fire extinguisher or other extinguishing equipment, such as a garden hose must be readily available.
  4. Fires shall be constantly attended until fire is extinguished.
  5. No burning is permitted if wind speed exceeds (15) mph.
  6. Fuel shall be limited to natural grown forms of wood- dried, split or sawn to lengths no greater than 4 feet. No processed wood such as 2 X 4's, pallets, building materials, etc. may be burned.
  7. If any neighbor experiences breathing or physical discomfort due to smoke generated, the fire must be extinguished.

Landscape Waste
Landscape waste: Shall mean any vegetable or plant waste except garbage. The term includes trees, tree trimmings, branches, stumps, brush, weeds, leaves, shrubbery and yard trimmings shall not be burned in the city limits of Newton.

  • Exception: Single family homes on properties 1 acre or larger and the landscape waste is generated on said property. The area intended to be burned shall be at least 200 feet from any inhabitable structure

Portable Outdoor Fireplaces/Open-Flame Cooking Devices

Portable outdoor fireplaces, charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Portable outdoor fireplaces shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. The same rules apply as with recreational fires. Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within ten feet of combustible construction.

  • Exceptions: 1. One– and two-family dwellings. 2. Where buildings, balconies and decks are protected with an automatic sprinkler system. 3. LP-gas cooking devices having LP-gas containers with a water capacity not greater than 2 1/2 pounds [nominal 1-pound LP-gas capacity].

Open Burning Alternatives

Newton Sanitary Landfill

Newton residents may dispose of leaves, small twigs less than one-quarter inch in diameter, garden waste, weeds and hedge trimmings at the Landfill, which is located 3/4 mile south of I-80 on east side of Highway 14. To view the hours of operation, please refer to Landfill Hours. If the container is dumped by the resident, there is no charge to dispose of these items at any time of the year. Grass clippings may be delivered to the Landfill for disposal at a minimum fee. For questions and disposal charges you may contact them at 641-792-3866.

City Yardwaste Bags

These bags are collected during regular curbside trash pickup every week from March 25 through December 7. The bags may contain leaves, small twigs less than one-quarter inch in diameter, garden waste, weeds and hedge trimmings. Learn more here.

Recycling Paper and Plastic

Certain items may be included in the red recycling bins for collection at the curb on the same day as normal trash collection. These items include newspapers and glossy inserts, magazines, brown paper bags, catalogs, phone books, junk mail, corrugated cardboard, paper board items such as cereal, cracker, cake, cookie, tissue and gift boxes, household plastic bottles, jugs and containers used for laundry, food or personal hygiene that are marked with recycling codes 1 or 2 on the bottom of the container. Plastic lids are not recyclable. Please refer to the Newton Sanitary Landfill for more information on recycling. 


This process may be used to provide soil and mulch for gardens and plants. A brochure explaining how to start a compost pile at your residence can be obtained at the Iowa State University Jasper County Extension Office. Questions about the process may be directed to this office by calling 792-6433 or visiting them at 550 N. 2nd Ave. W. in Newton.


Mulching mowers cut grass and leaves into very small pieces that may be left on the lawn. Yard waste, including leaves, grass clippings and tree and shrub trimmings can be shredded and used as mulch in vegetable gardens and around flowers, trees and shrubs. Decomposition occurs more quickly if the pieces are smaller. The process returns nitrogen to the soil, which is beneficial to the grass and other plants. If grass clippings are used and a herbicide has been applied to the lawn, mow the grass three times before applying clippings as mulch.

Complaints & Enforcement

The Newton Fire Department has the primary responsibility for enforcement of these regulations. If you wish to report a complaint or if you have a question regarding open burning, please call the Fire Department at 792-3347.

Violations Consist Of:

Any open burning that is determined by the Fire Department to be injurious to the health of occupants of surrounding property or that constitutes a hazardous condition.

Violators are subject to a fine of $50 plus court costs for the first offense; $150 plus court costs for the second offense; and up to $500 plus court costs for the third or subsequent offense.

Permit Required

Permits are required for the following:

  • Burning of Diseased Trees
  • Flare Stacks
  • Landscape waste from clearing, grubbing or construction operations
  • Landscape waste on single family one acre lots or greater

To fill out a permit online, click Burning Permit Online Application.

Or if you prefer, you can print an application and return it to the Newton Fire Department: Burning Permit Application PDF or Burning Permit Application (Fillable) PDF.