Rules For Fire Pits In Backyards

Fire Pit Distance From House Property Line And Other Structures

Safety rules for backyard fire pits
  • The first rule of thumb as far as placing your fire pit is to make sure it is a safe distance from the building and other structures and items that are flammable. This includes your house, sheds, fences, bushes, trees, and shrubs. Make sure to check the specifics on how far away from the house a fire pit should be in your area. This also reduced issues with wind direction pushing toxic fumes your way.

  • Most places require a clearance above the fire pit of 21 feet, to allow for overhead branches.

  • Be mindful of your property line. Many places have restrictions on how close a fire pit is allowed to be to the border of your property. The distance varies depending on your county or municipality, so be sure to check out the specifics where you live.

  • Avoid placing your fire pit on uneven ground.

  • Make sure you are not placing your fire pit underneath any power lines.

Brisbane City Council Backyard Fire Pit Laws

Outdoor fires are legal in the Brisbane City Council area only if they meet certain criteria. Under the Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2009, residents are prohibited from lighting and maintaining fires in the open air for any purpose other than where:

  • the fire is used to cook food for human consumption in a barbecue or similar structure
  • for approved theatrical performances or similar approved entertainment events
  • the subject land is included in the Rural area classification and neither the height, width or length of the material to be consumed exceeds two metres
  • a permit has been issued by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
  • the fire is required to be lit by notice under section 69 of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.

This means that if you live within the Brisbane City Council area and would like to cosy up to a fire pit, it would have to be in the form of a chiminea, pizza oven, or charcoal barbecue and you must be cooking food.

Can I Have A Fire Pit In My Backyard

Whether you live in a city or you live in a rural area that tends to stay pretty dry, you may be having a hard time finding a solid answer as to whether or not a backyard fire pit is legal where you are. There are a lot of places that have very strict restrictions on fire pits and how they are allowed to be used.

Whether or not you will be able to have a fire pit at your home depends on a few different factors:

  • What the local ordinances outline as required safe distance fires must be from buildings, generally this distance is between 20 and 30 feet from any structures.

  • What is considered a recreational fire .

  • Rules and guidelines for open burning in your area and whether or not it is legal.

  • What types of fires necessitate having a permit from the proper authorities.

Many areas only restrict fire pit use when the air quality is low or there is a higher chance of a fire happening. Other places have strict ordinances and guidelines regardless of the weather or time of year.

In Chicago, for example, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are allowed, but they have to have a lid of some sort and can only be used for firewood. If you live in Chicago and want to burn leaves, you will need to leave the city limits and go to an area with looser restrictions.

Usually, no matter your location, the most reliable solution is to simply purchase a safe, tested, and certified solution. Examples of fire pits that are widely permitted due are those from Outland Living, found here and here.

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Arizona Open Fire Laws By East Valley City

  • Gilbert: Gilbert does not regulate fire pits or gas grills. Read more. But be careful when it comes to any open burns. Again, read the instructions on your fire pit.
  • Mesa: Your fire pit needs to be 15 feet away from any combustible material. Read more. Be careful. Failure to comply can bring a Class 1 Misdemeanor and its a $2500 fine and up to 6 months in jail!
  • Phoenix: Only requires that fires be regularly monitored and that you have fire extinguishing methods available, including an extinguisher, garden hose, or dirt. No permit is required, but no burn days must be observed. Read more.
  • : Be sure to follow the no burn time periods, as even an outdoor fire pit is restricted. The law in Maricopa County.
  • Tempe: According to the Tempe laws, From May 1 through September 30 each year it is unlawful for any person to ignite, cause to be ignited, permit or allow to be ignited, any outdoor fire. This does appear to apply to fire pits as well.

Common Backyard Fire Pit Laws And Regulations Homeowners Should Know

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Our backyards are where we go to relax and unwind, host parties, and connect with our families. As the end of summer approaches, cooler weather begins to creep in, and we continue to look for ways to gather outside at a safe social distance, the idea of a backyard fire pit is appealing to many homeowners.

Adding a fire pit to your backyard is not only a great way to increase your yards chill factor but it can also increase your homes value. Consumers responding in The National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features gave the addition of a fire feature a perfect 10 Joy Score rating. This rating is based on the happiness homeowners reported with the addition of a specific outdoor project. The same report noted a fire feature provides an average of 67% return on investment for homeowners.

But, before you break out the Adirondack chairs and smores fixings, be sure to check with your city or countys fire department and your homeowners associate for any restrictions you may be up against.

Most cities and towns allow small recreational fires. A recreational fire is usually defined as a campfire, bonfire, or backyard fire in a fire pit. Many recreational fire regulations are in place to remain courteous to your neighbors, but others exist to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

While every town is different, here are three common fire pit laws and regulations you should know about before adding a fire pit to your yard.

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Rules To Burn Wood Brush And Leaves

You dont need a fire permit to burn piled wood, brush, leaves or wood by-products if you follow these rules:

  • ignite the fire no sooner than two hours before sunset and extinguish it no later than two hours after sunrise
  • burn only a single pile at any one time
  • ensure the pile is less than two metres in diameter and less than two metres high
  • keep the fire at least two metres from any flammable materials
  • have tools or water on hand adequate to contain the fire at the fire site
  • ensure a responsible person tends the fire until it is extinguished

Will I Need A Permit For My Fire Pit

Generally speaking, you will not need a permit for open burn fires in fire pits or campsite fires. Burn permits are usually reserved for industrial purposes like waste disposal or other industrial processing. The best advice is going to be to call your local fire department and double-check. Simply let them know the size and purpose of the fire, and they should have an easy answer for you.If you’re ready to make a purchase consider our shopping guides for propane fire pits & camping stoves, to help you choose the right product for your home.

Oakridge Wood Fire Pit

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Final Thoughts On Backyard Fire Pit Laws

Now that you are aware of some of the Backyard fire pit laws and regulations make sure you follow them to enjoy your bonfire responsibly.

Laws change from one county to another so you dont end up assuming all laws are same despite the location in case you relocate.

Take the safety precautions and guidelines since fire is dangerous if not well managed.

Supervise the fire in case you have children around to avoid accidents.

Uniform Fire Code Rules: Placement

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The fire code laws in New Jersey also provide that recreational open fires cannot be located within 25 feet of a structure or within 25 feet of any combustible material. If a recreational fire is built in an approved container, it can be allowed up to 15 feet from a structure.

What is a recreational fire? The code describes it as a fire that burns materials other than rubbish. The fuel being burned in a recreational fire will be in the open, rather than contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit. The purpose for the fire can be for pleasure, religious ceremony, cooking or warmth.

What is an approved container for a fire pit? The only containers deemed approved for the purposes of this law are those that pass the UCC permit and inspection process. Currently, only BBQ grills are approved containers warranting the 15-foot clearance. All others must be 25 feet away from structures.

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Portable Fire Pit With Wheels

Why not enjoy a portable fireplace with wheels for easy transport around the backyard. This one has a porcelain enamel bowl and lid for optimal corrosion resistance and easy cleaning. The domed top pushes heat outward instead of straight up for warmer get-togethers with your family. There is also a large single door for easy refueling, cleaning, and marshmallow roasting

Domestic Burning In A No Permit Required Zone

If your property is not serviced with both municipal water AND sewer, then you are in what is described as a No Permit Required Zone. Most of the rural lots in the municipality are located in a No Permit Required Zone.

In addition to the criteria above, the following communities are defined as No Permit Required Zones:

Head of St. Margaret’s Bay Peggy’s Cove

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Campfire Rules And Regulations

Taking care around a campfire is even more important than around a backyard fire. A catastrophic wildfire could be started by one careless step.

Wildfires can have a variety of unfavourable effects, including:

  • Hazardous to human and animal health.
  • Can potentially cause rodent infestations in neighbouring areas
  • Capable of releasing massive amounts of climate-altering gases
  • Forest fires reduce the ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and they can spread to residential areas, threatening lives and property.
  • There will be long-term changes to the terrain.

Even if youve been building campfires for years, mishaps are always a possibility. Campfire mishaps can have life-altering consequences, therefore its important to always observe local fire safety regulations.

Make sure you follow these rules before lighting your campfire:

  • Check the local ordinances and park guidelines.
  • Find out the state of the fire
  • Verify that there is no local prohibition on burning.

A Trial Relaxation Of The Rules

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Following publicity during the coronavirus lockdown period, Brisbane City Council made the decision to relax its fire pit laws for a three-month trial from 1 June to 31 August 2020. This allowed for small backyard fires for social reasons. Were pleased to announce that the trial was a success!

Residents of Brisbane City Council are permitted to continue enjoying their fire pits provided the smoke does not impact neighbours and provided the fire does not present a safety risk to people or property.

You can find all the details here about the brazier and fire pit heating trial.

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Rules On Fire Pits In New Jersey

Fire pits are currently a popular feature in many backyards, providing warmth as well as ambiance and lighting. But wood burning can be dangerous to individuals who inhale the smoke, and can also result in wildfires that destroy trees, vegetation and homes. Most states, including New Jersey, impose rules and regulations on the use of fire pits.

Is A Fire Pit A Form Of Open Burning

Typically, a fire pit will fall under open burning. However, the definition of open burning in several municipalities may exclude fire pits. This is because, even though contaminants get emitted directly, most of them are off the ground. Consequently, fire emitted from a fire pit is unlikely to contact flammable materials like a wood deck and spread to form a more massive fire.

Thus, you should be aware of your local authoritys definition of open burning.

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What Is A Burn Ban

Burn bans are temporary restrictions that forbid a fire started by an open flame. It also applies to material that can cause uncontained ember release.

Burn bans usually go into place during drought or during the threat or existence of wildfires. Poor air quality and high air pollution can also cause a burn ban to go into effect.

Violations of a burn ban can result in monetary fines, legal actions, or jail time, depending on your local guidelines. Activities that can be off-limits during a prohibition include:

Check The Wind Conditions

Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal? | Backyardscape

Before you start up a blaze in your fire pit, check the local weather forecast. Don’t use your fire pit on unusually windy days, as the wind can make it hard to light the kindling and could blow sparks to surrounding brush or structures, potentially starting a fire. Also, always check the direction of the wind before you start your fire. Advise guests to sit on the upwind side of the pit to keep clear of the smoke. If you have a portable fire pit, consider moving it to a location with a natural windbreakbefore you light the fire.

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The Lure Of A Real Flame Fire Pit

People are drawn to campfires in just the same way as our prehistoric ancestors were. Gathering around the flames sharing campfire stories, toasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate is a real pleasure. A campfire in the garden with full adult supervision is a great excuse to get kids outside and away from screens, and can create lasting fond memories. Why not extend the experience by putting the tent up in the back garden and having a camp out!

What You Can Burn

In most counties, the only firewood that is acceptable to burn is clean, dry wood that has been split. Here are a few examples of firewood that is acceptable and safe to burn:

Oak produces significant heat while also burning slow and steady. Oak is one of the most readily available firewood, so it is easy for campers and bonfire enthusiast to find and use.


Hickory firewood burns hotter than the oak maple, and other popular hardwoods hickory is dense what that could be tough to split. Hickory does not hold onto moisture and burns very well. The most notable trait of Hickory is the taste it has when used to grill food.

Ashwood is a prime choice for firewood. It burns easier retains less moisture and doesnt produce as much smoke like other firewoods that are available today. These characteristics make it perfect to use for a campfire or a bonfire.


Cedar produces prime heat, making it the perfect choice for firewood on a chilly night. It is misleading, however, because it doesnt produce especially big flames. Cedar also has a unique aroma that smells amazing when on fire.

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New Jersey Fire Pit Ordinances

The State of New Jersey regulates fire pits. Applicable rules depend on the type of fuel the pit burns, the size of the fire-pit container, and whether or not the fireplace structure is permanent and approved. Note that open burning of any kind is prohibited on public property in New Jersey, including beaches, beach paths, streets, sidewalks and public recreation areas.

Permanent outdoor fireplace structures are regulated by both local zoning and under New Jersey’s Uniform Construction Code requirements. In New Jersey, state-licensed, municipally employed code enforcement professionals, such as construction officials, sub-code officials and inspectors, enforce the UCC.

What You Can And Cant Burn

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People sitting close to the fire, nearby humans and animals, and the wildlife in the region are all at risk from the smoke, chemicals, and harmful gases that are released. Sometimes, even burning things that dont look dangerous might be bad for the citys air quality or even against the law.

If you are unsure of what you can burn, it is best to check with your local county government for guidelines.

The following is a list of some of the most often burned substances that are either poisonous or produce excessive smoke:

Toxic chemicals and smoke from negligent fire builders often settle on wildlife. Excessive smoke can be fatal to the little bird and drive the little mammals out of their homes.

The toxic gases permeate the atmosphere and eventually make their way into the water supply.

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Common Backyard Fire Pits Laws And Regulations

Its crucial to remember that most municipalities tolerate modest fires for recreational purposes. A recreational fire requires only a moderate amount of wood to be burned, and should not produce an excessive amount of smoke that could be a nuisance to nearby residents.

Regulations meant to prevent fires are not always based on consideration for others in the area. Most laws are there to protect you from doing things like lighting your house on fire or releasing toxic substances into the atmosphere.

Here are some general rules to follow when having a fire in your garden for fun: