ST. CLOUD - Backyard fires have sparked a debate on WJON over the past few weeks. A few listeners have complained about the smoke from the fires during our call-in shows.

These fire pits are five-six feet wide. The fire coming off there is three feet tall. I thought this was originally set up so you could burn a little bit of your brush, or leaves, in a little grill type fire pit. So is it legal to have these fire pits that are huge?

For residents of St. Cloud, there are specific rules that need to be followed. Burning is only allowed between noon and midnight. You can only burn clean, dry, unpainted wood. You can not burn leaves, paper, yard waste, or garbage. And, St. Cloud Fire Marshal Mike Post says fire rings have to be at least 25 feet from a building, or if its a manufactured fireplace, that can be just 15 feet from a building.

Now with the manufactured fire pits, we're seeing them proliferate, because you see them everywhere you go. They're in all the major big box stores when you go shopping. And, they're to use and they're easy.

Post says they average between 125 and 150 burning complaints a year.

The largest concern that we have is for unattended fires. And, unfortunately, we get quite a few of those. And, I encourage if you see that there is an unattended fire burning in somebody's back yard give us a call and we'll go out and take care of it.

Post says you also need to be considerate of your neighbors, keep in mind the wind conditions, and only burn clean, dry wood.

Post reminds you that an annual $25 permit is required to have a recreational fire in St. Cloud. He says they issued 1,480 permits last year.