Can I Have A Fire Pit In My Backyard?

Relaxing in front of a burning fire, soaking up the warmth, and letting your mind unwind after dealing with the demands of day-to-day living is one of the greatest ways to spend a chilly evening.

Few things can evoke sentiments of romance and satisfaction like sitting around a roaring bonfire on a cold night. And perhaps you are wondering if it’s legal to build a fire in your backyard to bring that pleasure into your home. If you are, you have come to the right place. This article will help you find the answer you have been looking for.

Is It Legal To Have A Fire Pit In My Backyard?

The ability to have a fire pit at your property is determined by a number of variables, including:

  • What the municipal rules describe as the required safe distance between fires and buildings, which is normally around 20 to 30 feet from any structure.
  • What is a considered recreational fire in your area. This will include the size and location.
  • Open burning rules and restrictions in your area, as well as whether or not it is legal.
  • What forms of fires require a permit from the appropriate authorities.

Many places only prohibit the use of fire pits when the air quality is poor or there is a substantial risk of a fire. Other regions, regardless of the weather or time of year, have more rigorous rules and guidelines.

What Qualifies As A Recreational Fire?

A recreational fire is generally defined as an outdoor fire used to burn anything other than junk or trash, where the fuel is not contained by an incinerator, grill, or other cooking appliance of a fixed size.

Most localities limit the size of a recreational fire to three feet in diameter and three feet in height. The purpose of the fire might range from pure enjoyment to religious or ceremonial purposes, cooking, or warming.

Common Regulations For Backyard Fire Pits

Small recreational fires are permitted in most cities and towns. A campfire, bonfire, or backyard fire in a fire pit is typically regarded as a recreational fire. Many recreational fire restrictions exist to guarantee your safety and the safety of people around you, while others exist to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

While each town is different, here are three common fire pit laws and restrictions to be aware of before installing a fire pit in your yard.

Location Guidelines

Whether you want to add a portable fire pit or a permanent structure, the placement must be carefully considered. Portable fire pits should be installed on fire-resistant surfaces such as a brick patio or stone pavers. If you position your portable fire pit directly on your grass or on a hardwood deck, flying embers can cause a fire.

Fire pits, both portable and permanent, shall be positioned at least 10 feet away from the property border. You must also locate or construct your pit in an area devoid of low-hanging branches and other potentially combustible landscaping elements. Many locations, in fact, have rules requiring a 25-foot distance between the fire pit and your house, shed, vehicle, deck, or other combustible things.

If you intend to create a permanent fire pit, your town or homeowner’s association may also demand a site review. Your homeowner’s insurance may compel you to declare your fire pit if you live in a wildfire-prone location. To minimize costly mistakes, you should consult with local fire officials before beginning your project.

Burning Material Restriction

Certain materials, when burned, can emit hazardous and foul-smelling fumes. Smoke, chemicals, and poisonous fumes are not only offensive; they are also dangerous to those sitting near the fire, others in the vicinity, and the wildlife in the region.

Common materials such as paper, magazines, and particleboard may appear to be innocuous kindling, but burning them can produce a lot of smoke and release toxins from the adhesive or ink. Burning the wrong flora, such as poison ivy, oak, sumac, or even green leafy branches, can cause major lung irritation and should be avoided.

All counties accept the burning of clean, dry, and split firewood, therefore for a backyard fire pit, woods such as oak, hickory, ash, and cedar are excellent alternatives.


Most governments and homeowner associations mandate that a fire be overseen at all times by an adult. This implies that even if you are 25 feet away working on a project in your garage, you could still be breaching the fire safety standards of supervision.

Shifting winds might endanger both your neighbor’s and your own property. Therefore, local ordinances may forbid you from lighting a fire in your backyard during strong wind conditions. The general unpredictability of the weather is a major cause for laws that require regular supervision.

Your responsibility to keep an eye on your backyard fire does not cease when the flames go out. Overnight, leftover embers might hold enough heat that a strong gust of wind can rekindle the fire.

When you’re done enjoying your backyard fire, spread the coals around and stir them with soil or sand to ensure they’re totally extinguished. Instead of burying your hot coals, mix them periodically and sprinkle on soil or sand until they are no longer hot. Alternatively, you can put the embers in a metal container and water them.

What Exactly Is Open Burning?

Open burning, according to the Division of Environmental Quality, occurs when any materials are burned and air toxins are released directly into the air rather than going through a chimney or a stack.

What items a town accepts under its open burn policy varies depending on where you live. Some localities have severe rules about what they accept, while others have more lax regulations.

Is My Fire Pit Considered Open Burning?

Yes, it does in the majority of cases. However, many localities define open burning as not burning in a fire pit that is off the ground or covered, as they are less likely to come into touch with other combustible objects by accident and are less prone to wind-blown sparks and spreading. This is one of the most significant reasons to examine your township or city’s burning restrictions.

Will My Fire Pit Require A Permit?

In general, open burn fires in fire pits or camping fires do not require a permit. Typically, burn licenses are designated for industrial uses such as waste disposal or other industrial operations.

Calling your local fire department to double-check is the best advice. Simply tell them the size and purpose of the fire, and they should be able to provide you with a straightforward response.

Use Your Fire Pit Responsibly

If you wish to burn wood, take the following actions to prevent particle pollution:

  • Only use seasoned, dry wood since it burns hotter and cleaner.
  • Check the moisture content of the firewood with a moisture meter; the moisture content should be about 20%.
  • Cover the stacked wood, but let enough air passage for it to dry.
  • Never burn wood during air quality alert days, when pollution levels are already elevated.
  • Greenwood, construction waste, plastic, rubbish, or yard waste should never be burned. They produce more smoke and are potentially harmful.
  • Take extra precautions if you reside in an area where brush fires are a threat.

Environmentally Friendly Alternatives

Before you start burning wood in your backyard, educate yourself on your possibilities. Using natural gas or propane instead of gasoline decreases dangerous air pollution. Hearth and patio stores sell kits for converting existing fire rings and pits to natural gas or propane burners.

Final Thoughts

Adding a fire pit to your yard is an outdoor feature you can use all year round. It’s a great way to start a party, and it can increase the value of your home. Just be sure to check your local laws and restrictions before beginning your fire pit project.