Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?

Most people appreciate a bonfire or a delicious dinner cooked over a wood fire. While setting up a campfire or setting up a fire pit, it is important to ensure that you are not breaking any fire regulations.

You might also ask if you’re permitted to put a fire pit in your garden. Is it legal to have a backyard fire pit?

Yes. Fire pits in the backyard are lawful as long as they adhere to the rules and legislation established by the county in which they are located. You may even bring portable fire pits to campgrounds and create them there if you’re allowed to. You’ll be alright with a backyard fire pit as long as you follow a few simple principles.

For the most part, individuals aren’t aware of the laws and restrictions that apply while building a fire in their garden or camping utilizing a fire pit. In terms of recreational fires, each municipality has its own set of regulations; nevertheless, most towns adhere to the same general set of safety principles and restrictions.

All residents of the region are protected by these regulations and burn restrictions. In order to ensure that you are in compliance with state, local, and federal legislation for your next recreational fire, follow the advice provided in this article.

Common Backyard Fire Pits Laws and Regulations

In most towns and cities, modest recreational fires are permitted in the streets. To make a recreational fire, you must burn a suitable amount of wood and ensure that the amount of smoke produced does not adversely impact your neighbors.

Not all fire safety standards are based on neighborly courtesy. So that you don’t burn your house on fire or release harmful substances into the air, most rules exist.

The following are some generally accepted rules for the safe use of fire in backyard leisure areas:

  • You must keep your fire at least a few feet away from any flammable materials. This rule states that a fire must be at least 25 feet away from your home, shed, car, or deck in order to be safe.
  • A lot of trees in your backyard means that you’ll need to keep an eye out for branches hanging over your fire pit.
  • It’s important to think about how your neighbors would be affected if you have a recreational fire in your community. You must keep your fire at least 10 feet from the property border if you want it to be extinguished.
  • When there’s a fire happening, the wind might be a serious threat to the neighborhood’s safety. You can’t use your outdoor fire pit if the wind is blowing at more than 15 miles per hour.
  • Building a fire should not exceed a three-foot height and three-foot width limit. Firefighter safety is at risk due to an increase in the number of large fires.
  • A responsible adult must be present at all times when a fire is lit and keep an eye on it. This implies that even if you are working in your garage 25 feet away from a fire, you are still in violation of the law.

What You Can and Can’t Burn

Those who sit near a fire, those nearby, and the local animals are all put at risk when smoke, chemicals, and harmful gases are released into the air. When it comes to burning, even seemingly safe materials might represent a health concern to the entire community.

Make careful to check out your county’s regulations on permissible burning materials if you are unclear about what you may burn.

Smoke and poisonous fumes may be produced by a wide range of materials, including:

  • Paper – Although burning personal documents and sensitive material may provide an additional layer of security, this is strictly banned. Toxic chemicals are released into the air when the paper is burned because of the treatment process.
  • Paper–Paper generates noxious smoke. A rise in the flames might also be harmful to individuals who are sitting nearby.
  • Particleboard is a common material used in the construction of low-cost furniture. Toxic fumes are released when the adhesives used to hold particleboard together are burnt.
  • A fire pit should not be fuelled with wood pallets. Methyl bromide is a chemical used to treat certain pallets. When the wooden pallets burn, methyl bromide is discharged into the air.
  • Toxic vapors can be released when ink is burnt in magazines, ad campaigns, newsletters, magazines, and colored present wrapping paper.
  • It is extremely harmful to young children to incinerate plastic since it emits airborne toxins that can be inhaled by everyone, including them.
  • A bonfire isn’t the best way to get rid of poison ivy, oak, or sumac from your yard. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac emit noxious odors because of the irritating oil in their leaves. Some people’s lungs are severely irritated and sensitive to these pollutants.
  • Garbage is one of the most dangerous things you may burn in your area because of the toxins it contains. Toxins are released into the air and excessive smoke is produced when rubbish is burned. The burning of garbage is prohibited.
  • Wood that has been pressure treated or painted should not be burned. Toxic smoke from burning pressure-treated wood can be inhaled. Lead-based paints on painted wood can emit harmful vapors as well.
  • Branches with Green Leaves– Branches and plants that are still green are not ideal for use as firewood because of their high moisture content. They produce a lot of smoke, which rapidly fills up your yard and the yard of your neighbor.
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Careless fire starters often leave a harmful chemical and smoke trail that ends up in the area’s fauna. Tiny birds and small mammals can be killed or forced out of their habitats if there is too much smoke in the air. Environment and water supplies are infected by toxic gases.

Your Burning Capacity

Only split, dried, and clean firewood is permitted for burning in most jurisdictions. Among the authorized and safe types of firewood are the following:


Oak burns slowly and steadily, releasing a substantial amount of heat. Campers and bonfire enthusiasts may easily locate and utilize oak since it is one of the most widely available types of firewood.


Compared to oak, maple, and other common hardwoods, hickory firewood burns hotter. Hickory is a thick wood, and it may be difficult to split because of this. Hickory doesn’t retain moisture, so it burns easily and efficiently. Hickory is well-known for the flavor it imparts to dishes when grilled.


Firewood made from ashwood is excellent. Like other firewoods available today, it burns faster, holds less moisture, and produces less smoke. These features make it ideal for usage in a bonfire or a campfire.


On a cool night, nothing beats the warmth that comes from a pile of cedar firewood. However, it is deceptive due to the fact that it does not create very large flames. When cedar is lit on fire, it emits an intoxicating perfume.

Intimidating Yourself

It is possible to hold heat for days or even weeks using coals, embers, or wood. When dealing with the residues of fire, care must be taken.

It is common for home fires to start when the ashes of an earlier fire are put into garbage cans or dumpsters before they have had a chance to cool. They ooze out of garbage cans and homes’ siding. If embers or sparks fly out of the fire pit, they can also cause these problems.

To assist keep the flames contained, many types of fire pit grill grates may be utilized. Your fire pit can also benefit from this.

After a large fire, you’ll want to keep the ash, coal, and embers out of the house for a few days.

A strong wind blow might reignite a dormant fire. Use water or mud or sand to extinguish any lingering heat from the coals as you stir and spread them out.

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Burying the coals in the dirt will have the opposite effect of what you intended. Once they are no longer red hot, alternate between stirring and throwing them on the soil.

After you’ve had your fun with the fire, put it out with a water hose if you have one. When holding a campfire, have a bucket of water or your hose nearby in case something goes wrong.

The ashes left behind after a fire can be used in a variety of ways once the flames have died down. There is no need to feel bad about throwing it away.

Regulations for the Use of a Campfire

More care must be taken with campfires than backyard ones. An ill-timed blunder might set off a deadly wildfire.

Wildfires can have a number of negative effects, such as:

  • Hazardous to humans and wildlife alike
  • The rats might be pushed into the neighboring neighborhoods by this.
  • Can produce enormous amounts of greenhouse gases
  • Co2 (greenhouse gas) is released into the atmosphere when the trees are burned down.
  • Long-lasting consequences on the environment.

Accidents may happen to anyone, no matter how much experience they have with making campfires they may have had previously. Accidents involving campfires can have life-altering consequences, which is why it’s so important to abide by the rules.

Begin by following the following instructions:

  • Learn the regulations of the park and the county.
  • Know the fire conditions (windy and dry weather are excellent for wildfires) (windy and dry conditions are prime for wildfires)
  • Check to see whether a burn restriction has been imposed in your region.

Kinds of Campfires

There are several campgrounds that don’t allow the same kind of fire. There are many who think of a campfire as a modest enough fire to illuminate their campground, while others see a flaming pile of leaves, branches, and brush that is too large to fit in the palm of their hand.

Depending on the campsite or park, you may be able to build a smaller or larger fire. It’s possible that the campfire you’re used to won’t be allowed at a campsite full of people.

  • Kids
  • RVs
  • Cars
  • Trees

The sort of campfire that is permitted can be inquired about at the campsite’s visitor center or with a campground official.

Depending on where you live, a burn ban might imply that you can’t have campfires or that there are additional restrictions in place. Find out whether there is a fire ban or other weather-related restrictions you need to know when you arrive at the park.

Initiating a Fire

Observe your surroundings before lighting a campfire. You want to keep your campfire at least 15 feet away from your tents, gear, and any other flammable items. Also, ensure sure nothing is sitting in a location where it’s easy for smoke and sparks to escape.

There should be a supply of kindling and wood available at the campsite. It is possible to bring bugs with you when you bring in firewood from a great distance.

When there is a fire, children and pets should be closely monitored. Take the time to teach your children about fire safety procedures and how to respond in the event that any of their clothes become on fire ( stop, drop, and roll).

Keep an eye on your campfire, bonfire, or fire pit at all times. Under the correct conditions, wind or errant particles might spark a wildfire. Call 911 if your campfire becomes out of control. Fires can also be reported to park rangers or campsite officials, so don’t hesitate to do so!

Bans on burning

One is based on air quality, and the other on wildfire safety. The usage of wood stoves, fireplaces, and open flames in the yard are all subject to these two types of temporary bans.

To preserve both fire safety and air quality, government officials may impose a required burn ban in hot, dry weather. During the fall and winter months, air pollution burn restrictions are often in place and enforced. These burn prohibitions might continue for a week or more in some instances.

Soot is a byproduct of the combustion of wood and wood-based goods. Children, the elderly, and those with respiratory or cardiovascular issues should avoid inhaling soot due to its high concentration of additional carcinogens.

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Stagnant concentrations of wood smoke occur when there is no breeze in the area. Fires are forbidden in this situation because of the dangers of stale smoke, which can contaminate the air. Gas fire pit tables, on the other hand, may be utilized even if there are burn restrictions in place since they produce no smoke.

Stages of the Fire Ban

The two stages of a state’s burn prohibition are as follows:

Burn Bans in the First Stage
Depending on the weather or rising pollution levels, Stage 1 Burn Bans are imposed.

Burn prohibitions in Stage 1 mean:

  • Fireplaces that use wood and wood-burning stoves that are not certified are prohibited.
  • If your sole source of heat is a fireplace insert, you’re out of luck at this period.
  • As long as the fireplace is your only source of heat, you can’t emit visible smoke. The sticker on the back of your wood stove and the one on top of your fireplace insert can inform you if your wood-burning equipment is approved. To ensure that it meets with US Emission Standards, it should say so on the label.
  • During a burn ban, all outdoor burns, including woodfires and charcoal recreational fires, are forbidden.

Burn Bans for Stage 2 of the Burning

Burn prohibitions are enforced when fine particle pollution levels reach a specific level, or when the weather is favorable for wildfire propagation, according to state legislation.

As a result of Stage 2 Burn Ban:

  • Unless this is your sole significant source of heat, no burning is permitted.
  • There is a limit to how much smoke may be generated even if the primary purpose of burning is to heat your home.
  • It is illegal to use a wood-burning fireplace, a wood stove, or a fireplace insert that has not been certified.
  • Wood and charcoal-fuelled recreational fires are banned from the outdoors.

Ban on Open Burning Penalties and Fines

Property Owners

There is a penalty for breaching the burn prohibition if inspectors discover it. Up to $15,000 might be fined for breaking the restriction.


A producer will be penalized per unit manufactured and delivered if they create and sell wood-burning fireplaces that purport to be certified and comply with fire ban requirements but really do not.

To guarantee the safety of yourself and others, there are numerous things to consider and safety procedures to apply while lighting recreational fires. Each state and each county has its own set of laws in place, which differ from state to state.

There are a number of common rules and restrictions that apply to recreational fires. If you live in a certain county, it’s important to keep up to speed on local laws.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re relaxing around a bonfire:

  • Your house, deck, shed, car, and the tree must be at least 25 feet away from the fire pit if you want it to be safe.
  • Your property line should be at least 10 feet away from a fire.
  • When individuals are reckless or burn poisonous materials on fires, they represent a threat.
  • The smoke produced by firms that aren’t fed by clean or dry wood might be annoying to residents of a neighborhood.
  • Before lighting a fire, double-check with your local fire department to be sure there isn’t a ban in effect.
  • In order to avoid starting a wildfire when camping, you should be prepared to extinguish a fire at any time.
  • When you’re out camping, be sure to follow the rules about how to safely use a campfire.
  • The most essential thing to remember while dealing with flames is that they must always be closely monitored.
  • To confirm that your fire is in conformity with your county’s regulations, you may check online or call your local fire department during office hours if you have any issues. This article is a guideline.

Whether you’re having a barbecue in your backyard with a fire pit or at a campsite, remember to stay safe and abide by the rules.

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