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Backyard fire pit regulations

Updated July 20, 2017

A backyard fire pit may be defined as an in-ground or below-ground pit, a freestanding fireplace, or a commercially built portable fire pit. Any of these types of fire pits provide outdoor fun during the year when they are safe and follow fire brigade regulations. Fire brigade rules vary in each city and must be contacted for specific regulations by which to abide. General regulations involve the structure of the fire pit and the rules of recreational fire making.

Structure of a Fire Pit

A backyard fire pit must be surrounded by noncombustible materials like brick, steel, concrete or rocks. Local fire brigades usually have limitations on the diameter of the pit (usually two to three feet maximum) and height of the fire (usually around two feet). Most departments also require a certain distance it must be located away from buildings, fences, sheds or other combustible materials, so check with your local fire brigade before constructing an outdoor fire pit.

Rules of Recreational Fire Making

Only natural firewood or commercial logs may be burnt in most backyard fire pits. Fire brigades prohibit materials such as trash, recyclable items, yard waste, scrap wood, or flammable liquids from being burnt. In addition, adequate fire suppression materials, such as a bucket of water or garden hose, must be available within reach of the fire and the fire should be attended and supervised at all times.

Other Possible Fire Department Rules

Some fire brigades require a permit for recreational burning at varying costs. Others allow fires to be started or continued only during certain times of the day, usually to be extinguished by midnight. In some cities, recreational fires may only be started when the wind does not exceed seven miles per hour. Because fire brigade rules and regulations vary from city to city, it is important that the local department is contacted before installing a backyard fire pit.

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About the Author

Holding a Master of Arts in education from the College of St. Scholastica, Jilayne Siewert has been writing since 2001 and was a finalist in a Nationwide Learning book challenge. Siewert is certified in elementary education as well as education of the deaf and hearing impaired.