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When the weather starts to cool down, nothing beats sitting around a backyard fire pit with family and friends. But before you run out and buy one, you may want to make sure it’s legal to have a fire pit in your backyard. You don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars only to find that you’re not legally allowed to use that nice, new fire pit.
In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the laws surrounding backyard fire pits in the United States. We’ll also give you tips on how to stay within the law while still enjoying your backyard fire pit when figuring out are backyard fire pits legal for your area. So, read on for all the information you need on backyard fire pits!
Related: How To Start a Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question. The truth is, it depends on where you live. In most cases, controlled fires in fire pits are allowed, but there are locations where they are prohibited. However, even if it’s allowed in your area, it’s critical that you follow the rules and abide by general safety precautions to protect yourself and others.
The honest answer, the only solution to this question, can be found by calling your local fire department. You can ask them if you need a permit and what rules you have to follow to have a fire in your backyard. This is the best way to figure out are backyard fire pits legal for my home.
Generally, a fire inside a container is allowed in most residential areas. If it’s entirely contained in a proper fire pit or even a barbecue grill, it should not damage the lawn, fences, trees above, or bushes beside the fire area. Think of safety first!
Common Rules Related to Fire Pits
There are a few common rules or regulations related to fire pits. Even if these rules do not apply in your area, they’re generally good safety practices to follow to ensure that no one gets hurt.
In most cases, the fire must be controlled. That can mean different things in different places, but often it means that the fire pit must have a screen or cover and should not be open so something or someone could easily fall into it. This also helps to prevent any embers from escaping and causing a fire.
Not Left Unattended
Additionally, the fire should not be left unattended. You or someone else should always be there to monitor it. Unattended fires are much more likely to spread and cause problems. If you’re actively monitoring the fire, catastrophes can be prevented.
Another common rule related to fire pits is that they must be located in a safe place. That means away from any structures, including your house, garage, or shed. Additionally, the fire pit should not be located under any low-hanging trees or branches. The last thing you want is for sparks to fly into the trees and cause them to catch on fire.
What You Can and Can’t Burn
You should only burn natural materials like wood. There are also usually rules about what you can and cannot burn in a fire pit. In most cases, you’re not allowed to burn trash, plastic, or anything else that would release harmful chemicals into the air.
Other things you should not burn include:
- Pressure-treated wood
- Bottles and cans
- Paper, cardboard, or magazines
Again, these are just general guidelines. The best way to find out what is and is not allowed in your area is to call your local fire department.
General Safety Precautions
In addition to following the specific rules related to fire pits in your area, there are also some general safety precautions you should take any time regardless of considering are backyard fire pits legal in my area.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about getting a backyard fire pit:
1. Check the Laws in Your Area
Before you buy or build a fire pit, make sure to check the laws in your city or county. Some places have laws that prohibit backyard fire pits outright. Others may have restrictions on where they can be placed, how big they can be, or what type of wood can be burned.
If you’re not sure about the laws in your area, the best thing to do is call your local fire department. They will be able to tell you if backyard fire pits are legal and what restrictions apply.
2. Follow the Rules
If backyard fire pits are legal in your area, make sure to follow all the rules. That includes getting a permit if one is required, following any restrictions on where the fire pit can be located, and only burning wood that is approved for use in fire pits.
3. Call Before You Dig
If you plan on digging a hole for your fire pit, you should always call 811 before you dig. This is a free service that will mark any underground utilities in your area so you don’t accidentally hit one while digging. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
4. Use Proper Ventilation
When you’re using a fire pit, be sure to have proper ventilation. That means having the fire pit away from any structures, not using it in enclosed spaces, and not using it in high winds.
Proper ventilation is important because it helps to prevent fires from spreading. It also helps to clear the smoke so you and your guests don’t end up breathing it in.
5. Never Leave Children Unattended
If you have children, never leave them unattended near a fire pit. Even if the fire is contained and under control, you never know what can happen. Have someone designated to watch the fire at all times.
6. Never Use Gasoline or Other Flammables
Gasoline and other flammables should never be used to start a fire pit. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s also against the law in most places. If you’re having trouble getting your fire started, try using some dry kindling or starter logs.
7. Be Careful With Alcohol
If you’re having a party with friends, you may be tempted to drink around the fire pit. But be careful! If you’ve been drinking, it’s best to stay away from the fire. Drinking can impair your judgment and make it more likely that you’ll get injured.
8. Keep Your Pets Safe
Pets are curious creatures, and they may not understand the dangers of fire. If you have pets, make sure they’re kept away from the fire pit.
9. Be Prepared to Put Out the Fire
Before you start a fire, be sure you have everything you need to put it out. That includes a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water, or a garden hose. If a fire does get out of control, you’ll be glad you’re prepared.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a fire pit in your backyard?
This depends on the laws in your city or county. In most places you can, but some places have laws that prohibit backyard fire pits outright. Others may have restrictions on where they can be placed, how big they can be, or what type of wood can be burned. If you’re not sure about the laws in your area, the best thing to do is call your local fire department.
How safe are fire pits?
When used properly, fire pits are safe. But as with any fire, there is always a risk of injury or property damage. That’s why it’s important to follow all the safety rules and regulations.
Do I need a permit for a backyard fire pit?
In most cases, no, but this depends on the laws in your area. You may need a permit to have a fire pit in your backyard. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is call your local fire department. They will be able to tell you if you need a permit and how to get one.
How far does a fire pit have to be from a house?
This depends on the laws in your area. Some places have no setback requirements, while others may require fire pits to be a certain distance from structures. The best thing to do is call your local fire department. They will be able to tell you what the laws are in your area. As a general rule of safety, staying at least 20 feet away from a house is a good practice.
How far should a fire pit be from a tree?
Fire pits should be at least 10-20 feet from any part of the tree (meaning, no branches or any part of the tree should be any closer than 10-20 feet from the fire). The more distance you have, the safer you’ll be.
How big of a fire can I have in my backyard?
This depends on the laws in your area. Some places have restrictions on how big a fire can be. For example, some laws limit the size of the fire to 3 feet by 3 feet. The best thing to do is call your local fire department.
Can I have a bonfire in my backyard?
This depends on the laws in your city or county. Some places have laws that prohibit backyard bonfires outright. Others may have restrictions on where they can be placed, how big they can be, or what type of wood can be burned. If you’re not sure about the laws in your area, the best thing to do is call your local fire department.
Where should I put a fire pit in my backyard?
This depends on the size and layout of your backyard. You’ll want to choose a spot that’s at least 10-20 feet away (and further if possible) from any structures, trees, or other combustible materials. You’ll also want to make sure there’s plenty of room for people to move around the fire pit.
What can I burn in my fire pit?
In most cases, you can burn dry firewood in your fire pit. You should not burn pressure-treated wood or particleboard.
Can you leave a fire pit burning overnight?
No, you should never leave a fire unattended, even for a short period of time.
Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal? The Bottom Line
Whether or not backyard fire pits are legal where you live depends on your location and it is necessary to check with the local ordinances to determine, are backyard fire pits legal? However, even if they are legal, there are often rules and regulations that must be followed for everyone’s safety. Before using a fire pit, make sure to check with your local fire department to ensure that you are following all the necessary safety precautions.
Have fun and be safe!
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