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Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?

by Lianne Jones June 09, 2022

Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?

Backyard fire pits are becoming very popular these days, and provide a great way to enjoy balmy summer evenings without having to pay for expensive outdoor heaters or electricity bills, allowing you to make the most of your home and garden.

Before you head out to install your fire pit, however, it is important to ensure that you are working within the law.

To help, we took a closer look at whether fire pits are legal, and put together everything you need to know.

What Is A Backyard Fire Pit?

A backyard fire pit is essentially an area in which you can build a small fire, usually around 10 feet by 10 feet, with a metal grate surrounding it.

The pit itself is made from concrete, brick, stone, wood, or any other material you choose, but, regardless of the material, the idea behind them all is pretty much the same: they allow you to have a relaxing evening outside, even if it’s cold, rainy or windy.

They are also perfect for entertaining guests, as well as cooking food over the flames for that incredible smokey flavor.

Backyard fire pits come in many different sizes and shapes, but there are some things you should keep in mind before buying one, and a number of factors will impact your decision.

These include:

• Size – If you want to be able to cook large meals and entertain groups of friends, then you may prefer a larger pot than someone who wants to use it just for warming up on chilly nights.

You can get smaller versions too, although this means that you won’t be able to fit as many people inside.

• Materials – As mentioned above, you can buy fire pits made from a wide range of materials, including concrete, brick, and stone.

It is advisable to go for something that is easy to maintain so that you don’t end up spending hours cleaning your fire pit after every use.

• Cost – Depending on what size and type of fire pit you decide to purchase, prices can vary greatly.

However, if you do your research beforehand, you should be able to find a good deal.

The Benefits Of Having A Backyard Fire Pit

There are several benefits to owning a backyard fire pit, not least of which is the fact that they are incredibly versatile.

You can use them for anything from cooking to heating, and they are ideal for entertaining guests or simply enjoying time alone.

They are also extremely useful when it comes to keeping warm during the winter months, especially if you live somewhere where the weather is particularly harsh.

Backyard fire pits can also be used to create stunning views, adding a touch of class to your garden or patio, and encouraging you to really make the most of your garden and outdoor living space.

In addition, they are often quite affordable, making them a great investment.

However, while they offer a lot of benefits, there are also a few downsides to consider.

For example, they can be noisy, depending on how close you place them to your house, and they can pose a risk of injury if children play near them.

Is Building A Fire Pit Illegal?

Is Building A Fire Pit Illegal?

If you are planning on building a fire pit yourself, you should check first whether it is illegal in your area.

Some cities and states have restrictions on the types of fires you can burn, so it is important to know about these rules before starting work.

If your city does not have specific regulations regarding fire pits, you could still run into trouble if you start a fire without permission.

This includes lighting fireworks, smoking cigarettes using matches, lighters, or torches, or using a backyard fire pit.

You might also face fines if you set off alarms at local businesses or cause damage to property - this can occur if your fire lets off a lot of smoke.

Whether or not it is legal to have a backyard fire pit at your home will depend on a range of factors, and these include:

The Location Of Your Home

Perhaps the largest factor in determining the legality of your fire pit will be the location of your home.

The laws surrounding backyard fires differ from state to state, but generally speaking, you cannot build a fire pit within 50 feet of any structure (such as a garage, shed, or fence) unless it has been specifically designed to withstand high temperatures.

In some places, such as New York City, you may need to obtain a permit to construct a fire pit.

It is important that you check your state and local laws before proceeding with building or operating a firepit - the penalties can be hefty if you are acting outside the law.

Your Neighbors

In certain areas, you must get permission from your neighbors before constructing a backyard fire pit.

If you plan to light a fire in your yard, you should talk to your neighbors beforehand to ensure they do not object - this is common courtesy even if it is not a legal requirement, and can play a large role in helping you to maintain amicable neighborly relations.

You should also be mindful not to make a nuisance of yourself, for example by lighting the fire pit while neighbors are drying laundry or trying to enjoy their garden.

Also make sure that you ask whether your neighbors have any health concerns that could be exacerbated by the smoke and pollutants, such as asthma or respiratory conditions.

If your neighbor suffers from such a condition, it is kinder to avoid the fire pit.

Fire Safety

Another consideration when deciding whether to build a backyard fire pit is safety.

You should always take precautions to prevent accidents, especially if you have young children living nearby.

Make sure that you use only safe materials, such as non-flammable wood or concrete, and that you keep all flammables away from the fire pit.

It is also advisable to place the fire pit in an isolated spot where there is little chance of anyone falling into it.

In addition, you should never leave your child unattended near a fire pit, and make sure that they understand how to escape safely if necessary.

Health Concerns

You should consider the potential health risks associated with having a backyard fire pit.

For instance, if you live close to a busy road, you should ensure that the area around your fire pit is well ventilated so that fumes do not accumulate.

Also, be wary of the chemicals used to treat your fire pit’s concrete base.

Some people believe that using chemical treatments makes the concrete more durable, but others argue that they are harmful to humans and animals.

Make sure that you research the chemicals used in your fire pit’s treatment before buying it, and that you buy a reputable brand.

Any Rules And Guidelines For Your Area

If you live in an area where there are rules about backyard fires, you may want to follow them.

For example, many cities require that fire pits be at least 10 feet from property lines and other structures and that they be placed on paved surfaces rather than grassy lawns.

Some states also have restrictions on the size of fire pits, and the amount of time that they can be lit.

Check with your city or county government to see what regulations apply to your area - you should also check to see whether a permit is required for certain types of fire.

What Counts As A Recreational Fire

In some places, fires are considered recreational activities, which means that you need a special permit to set one up.

However, most states allow homeowners to set up backyard fires without needing a permit, provided that they comply with local laws and guidelines.

A recreational fire is usually defined as being small enough to fit within the confines of a single fire ring and does not produce flames that exceed 6 feet high.

The exact height varies depending on the state, but generally speaking, it will depend on the type of fuel that you burn.

For example, if you light a fire made of dry twigs, the flames will rise no higher than 3 feet.

On the other hand, if you light a bonfire made of logs, the flames will reach heights of 7 to 12 feet.

Other Considerations

When choosing a location for your fire pit, you should also think about its proximity to water sources.

If you plan to use your fire pit during the hot summer months, you should choose a site that has access to plenty of fresh water to help ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Also, think about the weather conditions in your area. If you live in a region prone to heavy rainfall, you should avoid placing your fire pit in a low-lying area.

Finally, you should also consider the surrounding environment. For example, if you live in an urban area, you should try to locate your fire pit away from trees, power lines, and other flammable materials.

Fire Pit Regulations

Fire Pit Regulations

According to the Unified Fire Authority, there are a number of requirements that homeowners must meet when constructing a backyard fire pit, and these include:

  • The area where the fire pit is located must be at least 25 feet from any structure.
  • The fire pit must contain an opening through which smoke can escape.
  • The fire pit must not be less than or equal to 3 feet in width, or have a height of less than or equal to 2 feet
  • The fire pit must comply with local laws regarding open fires.
  • The fire pit must conform to all safety regulations set by the fire authority.

How To Build A Fire Pit

Building a fire pit can be a fun project for kids, but it’s important to make sure that you build it safely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when building a fire pit:

Choose A Safe Location

Make sure that you pick a spot that is free of any combustible material, such as woodpiles, fences, or brush piles.

You should also avoid areas that are close to buildings or power lines because these could pose a risk of electrical shock or electrocution.

If you have young children who might get curious while you’re digging, you should take precautions to prevent them from getting hurt.

Make sure that there is nothing nearby that they could climb on, and that you have a bucket of water handy just in case they fall into the hole.

Use Caution Around Gas Lines

You should never dig holes near natural gas pipes or manholes because this could cause leaks and explosions.

In addition, do not place a hole over a buried gas line. Instead, drill a hole in the ground next to the pipe, then cover it with dirt.

Use The Right Tools

Gather the right tools before you get started on the project - this will help you to save valuable time and effort, and ensure that you are safe throughout the process; if you do not have the right tool on hand, you may be tempted to improvise, and this can lead to serious injuries. have what you need to hand in to make the entire process smoother and safer.

It is also important to maintain good moisture levels when building a fire pit. Otherwise, the soil may become too hard, making it difficult to dig.

Building A Fire Pit: The Steps

Step 1: Prepare The Area

Before you start digging, you should clear away all debris, including leaves, sticks, and branches.

This will allow you to dig more easily, and ensure that the firepit itself is clear and safe.

Make sure that you also pick a spot well away from the house, and away from any trees, bushes, or other buildings.

Step 2: Create A Circle

Once you have found the perfect spot for your fire pit, draw out a circle - this should be the intended size of your fire pit and allows you to visualize the end result to make sure you have picked the best spot.

Once the circle is drawn out, find the center, and mark the point with a stake.

Step 3: Remove The Grass

The next stage is to remove the grass from within the hole using a shovel.

To be safe, make sure that you dig down to between 6 and 12 inches deep - you should already have checked to ensure that there are no power lines or obstacles in your intended spot before you start digging.

Step 4: Tamp Down The Dirt

Once you have dug down, tamp down the top of the dirt - you can also use the top of the shovel for this if you do not have a tamp.

Step 5: Check Things Are Level

Use a level to check that the surface of your fire pit is level and even.

Step 6: Add A Layer Of Sand

Once you have dug the hole, add a layer of sand. This will protect the sides of the hole from collapsing, and it will also help to insulate the fire pit from heat loss.

Step 7: Place The Stones Or Gravel

Next, place a thick layer of gravel across the top of the sand - aim for a couple of inches in depth. Make sure that this is spread evenly across the surface.

Step 8: Add The Bricks

Now, take a selection of bricks, and place these all around the edge of the circle to form the edge of the fire pit. This should reach a minimum of 12 inches in height.

Step 9: Add The Fuel

Add the logs, twigs, or other fuel that you are planning to use for your fire...

Step 10: Enjoy!

And there we have it - the ultimate guide to creating and building your very own fire pit in the comfort of your backyard.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Fire Pit?

Depending on the materials used, the cost of building a fire pit can vary greatly.

However, most people spend between $100 and $200 dollars on their backyard fire pit; ultimately, the final cost will depend largely on the price at which you can source materials, whether you opt to do the work yourself or outsource to a contractor, and whether you need to pay for any permits or paperwork before constructing the fire pit.

What Materials Should I Use For My Fire Pit?

There are many different types of materials available that you could choose to build your fire pit with. Some of the most popular options include:


Stone is a popular choice for many fire pits, as it provides an attractive look to your garden while being easy to maintain.

Stone fire pits come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so they can suit almost any style of landscaping. If you want to create a traditional-looking fire pit, then stone may be the way forward.


If you prefer something more modern, brick fire pits are a great option. Brick fire pits provide a sleek appearance, and they can be made into a wide range of designs.

They can also be constructed to fit perfectly into your existing landscape, making them ideal for those who don't want to disturb the natural beauty of their property.


Concrete fire pits are another popular choice for many homeowners. They are usually quite heavy, and they can be built in a number of different styles.

You can find concrete fire pits in a range of colors and finishes, meaning that you can easily match them to your home's exterior color scheme.


Metal fire pits are becoming increasingly popular. They are typically cheaper than wooden fire pits, and they can be created in a variety of different designs.

Many metal fire pits are designed to look like old-fashioned gas grills, and this gives them a vintage appeal.

Final Thoughts

A backyard fire pit can add a lot of enjoyment to your family life. It can help you relax after a long day, and it can even give you some extra space to entertain friends and family.

But if you're going to invest time and money into one, make sure that you get everything right from the start.

Follow our step-by-step guide above, and you'll soon be enjoying the benefits of having a backyard fire pit without any of the stress or drama!



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