Can I Use a Fire Pit in My Backyard?

There is no better way to spend a colder evening than by relaxing in front of a glowing fire with the people that you love and soaking up the warmth that it has to offer. It is the perfect way to unwind after a stressful day, but it might not be as simple as it sounds for everyone.

There aren’t many people that would turn down the offer of a nice evening bonfire, but if this is something that you are planning on doing, you will need to make sure that you are not doing so in violation of any fire laws. These laws can vary, depending on where you live, so it is really important to be aware of the legality of the situation.

So, you might be left wondering whether you are allowed to use a fire pit in your backyard, and this is something that we are going to explore in this article. We are also going to share some important safety tips for using a fire pit in your backyard, as well as some other important information that is worth being aware of.

Can I Use a Fire Pit in My Backyard?

The answer to this question will depend on where you live, which can make it difficult to find a solid answer. It is legal in many places, but there are also going to be some areas where fire pits are not legal, or that they are only legal in specific circumstances.

There are lots of strict rules in place in many areas, and it is important to be aware of these rules before you get started.

Whether you will be allowed to have a fire pit in your backyard or not will mostly depend on the following factors:

  • What the local ordinances outline as the required safe distance fires have to be from any buildings. Generally, this is typically between 20 and 30 feet from any structure
  • What is considered to be a recreational fire, depending on size, location, and more
  • The rules and guidelines that are in place for open burning in your local area
  • The legality of lighting a fire pit in your backyard
  • What types of fires necessitate having a permit from the proper authorities

In lots of areas, the restrictions of fire pit use are typically only in place when the air quality is low and when there may be a higher chance of a fire occurring. Other areas may have strict rules in place for certain weather or times of the year.

Backyard fire pits are usually legal as long as they follow the laws and regulations that are set up by your specific county. You can even take portable fire pits to places like campsites, and in some places, you are permitted to build your own. So, as long as you are aware of the basic rules when it comes to a backyard fire pit, you should be fine.

No matter where you live or what the rules are, you should always ensure that you are using a safe and tested fire pit that isn’t going to pose any safety risks. You can find these at a variety of retailers, but you should always ensure to purchase from reputable and trusted retailers, to be sure that the quality of the product is high.

Are Fire Pits Dangerous?

Fire pits can be dangerous if they are not used responsibly. When you are using a fire pit, you should always:

  • Use untreated wood - You should always use wood that has been well-seasoned for around six months to a year. Always use wood that has been kept dry, as both of these things will reduce the amount of smoke that your fire produces. 
  • Never use pressure-treated wood - Pressure-treated wood, like lumber, railroad ties, and wood from construction sites can contain toxic chemicals like arsenic. These are not safe to burn.
  • Be mindful of manufactured logs - Manufactured logs are usually made of sawdust and wax or similar materials. While they might produce less smoke than traditional firewood, this does not make them any safer. They can contain a variety of ingredients that make it impossible to predict how your lungs would react when you burn them. Most brands are also not safe for cooking on.
  • Choose a calm day - If the winds are blowing at more than 20 miles per hour, you should avoid making a fire until the wind has calmed down.
  • Keep your fire and logs small - Smaller fires will burn hotter, more completely, and with less smoke. For the best results, you should choose firewood that is less than 6 inches in diameter.
  • Instruct children on fire safety - Any children will need the correct guidance and the highest level of supervision around any fires. You should teach them to keep their distance from the fire and smoke. Their respiratory systems are still developing, which means that smoke will be more harmful to them.
  • Never use an accelerant - Accelerants, like gasoline, can cause the fire to flare up or quickly rage out of control. They can also release unwanted toxins into the air, so you should opt for small sticks or cubes that have been approved for fire-starting instead.
  • Keep a source of water nearby - It is always a good idea to keep a hose or bucket of water nearby, just in case your fire does somehow become out of control. This will ensure that you are ready in case of an emergency.

Will a Fire Pit Damage My Patio?

Patio is generally very durable, and will not be impacted by the heat that a fire pit generates. However, the heat from a fire pit can slowly cause damage to the patio over time and cause the surface to weaken or crack. To avoid this situation, you can get a special mat to put between your patio and your fire pit to prevent any damage from occurring.

Should I Cover My Fire Pit?

Yes, you should keep your fire pit covered once it has cooled down to protect it from rain, sunlight, and wildlife, and ensure it lasts for a long time.