Despite being a Minnesotan and growing up around bonfires my whole life, I just recently learned that you cannot burn just anything in your bonfire. I am slightly ashamed to admit this but it's not like I am out burning things in a bonfire everyday or even that often.

After learning about this Minnesota fact, and thinking about summer adventures like sitting around a bonfire with friends after a long day at the lake, I started wondering about Wisconsin. Many Northlanders split their time between Minnesota and Wisconsin so I did some digging.

It turns out the same rules apply in Wisconsin: you cannot burn trash in a bonfire in Wisconsin! According to the Wisconsin DNR, burning garbage is completely prohibited and it makes sense. Burning certain types of garbage can pollute the air and cause health problems.

If you are curious what you can or cannot burn in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DNR has a handy tool that helps you determine what is and isn't allowed. Please note that certain items may still require approval from the city or the DNR. It should also be noted that Wisconsin regulations do allow for individual households to burn certain types of "rubbish" under certain circumstances.

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It may go without saying but there are many items that you are absolutely not allowed to be burned in a bonfire. These items fall under the "household trash" category but some residents may think of trash as what fits in a physical garbage can. Larger items are also not allowed to be burned, including the following:

  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Shingles
  • Tires

If you have any of these items, dispose of them properly. If you have items you want to burn, consider recycling or donating them instead. It is better for the environment and for you!

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