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It’s that time of year where you want to start brainstorming about your backyard and what the possibilities are for this coming summer. Maybe you’re looking forward to hosting a big family get-together, or just having some friends over to grill out on Memorial Day weekend. You may be wondering if you can install a fire pit in your yard? This post will explore how local codes and ordinances might affect whether or not it is possible.

Yes, you can have a backyard fire pit legally as long as they follow laws and regulations in your state. If you have a portable fire pit you can take it to campsites or build temporary fire pits with permission from the landowner. As long as you follower fire safety you will be fine with a fire pit. 

Ok, so it is fine to have a fire pit but there is much more to having a fire pit in your backyard. We look at some of the different things you need to consider that will make your backyard fire pit journey run smoothly. 

Fire Pits Laws and Regulations

Most towns and cities within the USA allow for small recreational fires, as long you take the necessary precautions to prevent fires from spreading. A small recreational fire means a fire that does not cause too much smoke or affect your neighbors.

Not all states will base the decision on not being a fire hazard and not being a nuisance to neighbors. A few states have specific rules about how close the fire must be to your home, or it can’t cause any damage to nearby property such as trees, leaves, etc.

Fire pits are illegal in certain areas of California – because they create air pollution that may affect neighboring properties. The problem with using these types is that the fire can sometimes be too close to your home, and so it may cause damage which is a problem.

Some communities in California have banned all open fires because of this reason as well. So before you plan on using one make sure that it is permitted by law.

What Is  A Recreational Fire?

What constitutes a recreational fire is a sticky issue that riles on some common sense from the person having the fire. However, generally speaking, a recreational fire is any type of open flame that has been approved by the local jurisdiction and does not pose an immediate threat to nearby buildings or people.

It will be a fire that burns materials meant for burning not garbage and other household rubbish. Burning these materials can be seen as a hazard to the environment and to other people.

The fire will also not be made with any accelerant, even if it is legal in your area (such as gasoline or kerosene).  

This type of substance can make a flame stronger which may cause more damage when escaping from its source point.

The main points to remember with a recreational fire are:

  • Use fule that is considered to be safe NOT household garbage.
  • It should be burned within a container such as a fire pit.
  • Your fire can not be for commercial use.

What is Open Burning?

Open burning is when any materials are burned and which air contaminants are released directly into the air rather than passing through a chimney or stack. Depending on where you live, your town may have strict rules about what can be burnt in an open pit- some towns don’t allow certain types of plastics to be incinerated while others let it happen only during specific months. If there’s no restriction at all, just make sure that other people nearby aren’t bothered by the smell!

Houston regulates open burning, and not all of the regulations are straightforward. As a result, there is more to the story than meets the eye! The Fire Marshal does hold power over some aspects but it also seems like they have been lenient in their enforcement lately with regard to how much you can burn at one time and where you can host an event that requires fire.

Open Burning Regulations – Houston has rules about what types of fires require permits from inspectors before becoming legal for use as well as who or where these regulated events may take place without penalty if approved by proper authorities first. According to city law, “open” means anything outside of authorized incinerators unless accompanied by barbeque pits, outdoor fireplace grills.

Does My Fire Pit Count As Open Burning?

Yes, in most cases and it is one of the most important reasons for checking your township or city regulations is to ensure that you are not burning in an unsafe way. 

Open flames can be dangerous if they come into contact with other flammable materials, such as leaves and dry grasses. 

They also pose a risk to children playing near them because sparks may fly off from the fire onto nearby clothes (especially during windy days). 

In addition, open fires cause smoke pollution which poses health risks due to breathing difficulties caused by increased levels of particulate matter particles in the air! 

To avoid these dangers altogether make sure you do not burn anything outside on ground level without taking precautions. like having it elevated above ground so there’s no chance of coming into contact with any surrounding material.

Will I Need A Permit For My Fire Pit?

If you’re planning to start a campfire on the beach or in your backyard, you should have an easy time with it. You won’t need permits for open burn fires in fire pits and campsite fires. The best advice is going to be to call up your local department with some basic information about the size and purpose of the intended fire.

What You Can and Can’t Burn

Smoke, chemicals, and poisonous gas are not only offensive; they can be dangerous to those sitting near the fire.

When you are unsure of what to burn and want a clear answer, contact your local fire department for assistance.

Things You Should Avoid Burning:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Particleboard
  • Wooden Crates 
  • Magazines
  • Plastic
  • Trash
  • Green Garden Wast

Things You Can Burn:

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Ask
  • Cedar

Putting Out Your Fire

The heat from coals, embers, and wood can last for hours or even days depending on the circumstances. Use caution when handling ashes!

When you’re done cooking on your fire pit, it’s a good idea to cover any leftover embers with water or sand. Otherwise, they’ll flare up and the next thing you know there are scorch marks all over your home! If this sounds like something that might happen in the future for you then I recommend getting some of those grill grate things so nothing melts through when left unattended.

You might have to wait a few days before you can sweep up the ashes, coal, and ember.

Wind gusts can kick a barely-smoking fire back into action, so you should stir and spread out your coals as best you can. But if this doesn’t work try water, dirt, or sand to extinguish any remaining heat.

To ensure your charcoal is not buried in the soil, stir and toss it on the dirt until they are no longer red hot.

When you’re finished enjoying your bonfire, douse it with plenty of water to ensure the flames can’t get reignited. To be extra safe and prepared, keep a bucket or hose handy in case any incidents happen so they are quickly extinguished!

Backyard Fire Pit FAQs 

People have many questions when they ever get anything new. We have taken some of the most common questions and given you all the answers you need.

Can I use a fire pit in my backyard?

Yes, backyard fire pits can be legal as long as they follow the laws set up by your county. You could even take a portable fire pit to campsites or build one there with permission from the campground owner! So many options for you and I bet it’s really fun too.

Can you start a fire in your backyard?

Are you looking for an environmentally friendly way to get rid of unwanted yard waste? Burning natural vegetation and weed piles are a great alternative. You just need to be careful not to burn any wood that’s been treated, such as particleboard or plywood, for fear of releasing those chemicals into the air!

Where should I put a fire pit in my backyard?

It is important to place your fire pit a safe distance away from the house around 12 feet should be a minimum distance. This will reduce the risk of fires spreading and ensure that there are no overhanging branches or other structures nearby which could easily catch on fire.

Are garden fire pits legal?

Yes, you can have a backyard fire pit legally as long as they follow laws and regulations in your state.

Can you burn wood in your backyard?

Yes, you can burn season wood in your backyard if your laws and regulations in your state allow fires. You shouldn’t burn household garbage or yard waste in your backyard fire. It is illegal, hazardous, and dangerous to you and your family members as well as the people living nearby.

Can you burn paper in a fire pit?

Burning paper, trash, or anything manmade releases carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals into the environment.

It is important to keep these toxic substances out of our air so that we can protect ourselves from their adverse effects on plants, animals, humans – including children and babies who are most vulnerable to environmental toxins because they breathe more often than adults do.

Is fire pit smoke bad for you?

The EPA says that wood smoke is very dangerous to your health because it can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they will cause problems such as burning eyes and a runny nose.

How far does a fire pit need to be away from the house?

Never place a pit closer than 10 feet from anything that is flammable, including houses or trees. Unless it says in the owner’s manual, don’t put it on grassy surfaces such as lawns or decks made of wood.

What do you put under a fire pit?

Heat shields are a great way to protect surfaces from heat damage. They work on any type of flooring, including grass or concrete, and can be placed underneath the fire pit so that you don’t have to worry about damaging your lawn with its intense heat.

Does a fire pit need a liner?

Wood-burning fire pits produce a large volume of smoke, sparks, and embers. Plus they’re difficult to extinguish when not permitted by city planning departments; which is why you should always find out if your location permits one before installing it.