Outdoor Fireplace Laws

Updated March 23, 2017

Backyard fireplaces are a popular aspect of backyard decor in many areas around the country. Laws pertaining to outdoor burning pits and chimineas vary depending upon geographic location. Outdoor fireplace laws are instituted by government officials or by citizen vote, depending upon the state regulations. Violations of the outdoor burning laws carry a fine and costs associated with any damage the fire pits cause if an accident occurs.

Permits and Zoning

Permits can be required in order to operate any type of outdoor burning device. Many rural areas do not have a zoning or permit department, but can have established laws pertaining to open burning within municipal or townships limits. Permit details vary by location, but can contain language pertaining to the size, type and style of outdoor fireplace to be used at a residence.

Burning Laws

Common outdoor fireplace burning laws address not only the size and height of a unit, but the distance it can be placed near other structures. To avert potential fire hazards, outdoor fireplaces shouldn't be placed directly upon wooden decks. Local outdoor fireplace laws can address the type of foundation on which such a pit can be erected.

Safety Requirements

Safety requirements often associated with local laws and requirements can require a fire extinguisher be available and specify the type of fire starters that can be used to spark a flame. Lighter fluid and gas should not be used with outdoor fireplaces; such use is illegal in some areas.

Burning Restrictions

Open burning regulations in many states prohibit any type of outdoor burning in designated restricted area without a permit. Wood is the primary approved material for burning in outdoor fireplaces. Items that can't be burnt in most states include rubber, asphalt animal waste, household cleaners, motor oil, paint, electrical wire, garbage, grease, tires or petroleum. During certain dry times of the year or high air pollution status, outdoor burning is banned, even with a permit.

Know Before Purchasing

Some states consider exemptions for outdoor fireplaces, food grills and food smokers. Regulation permit requirements, fees associated with permits and fines for burning vary widely by geographic area and state of residence. Before purchasing an outdoor fireplace,or designing a foundation for the backyard attraction, all local laws pertaining to burning should be reviewed and necessary permits secured.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Tara Dodrill began writing professionally in 1990. She is a travel writer and photographer working for print and online media, primarily covering Florida, ecotourism and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Her writing credits include RUMBUM, Yahoo News, Visit South magazine,and North Carolina Coastal Guide. She studied journalism and education at Ohio University and real estate at Hondros College.