Installing a fire pit in your front yard is an excellent way to enhance your home’s street appeal, outdoor flow, and, consequently, its value. An outdoor fire pit will dramatically extend your outdoor living space and make good use of a previously unutilized front yard.
There are no national or state laws that dictate whether or not you may install a fire pit in your front yard. This depends on the town or county, with some cities ruling against open fires. Generally speaking, fire pits are only restricted when there is a potential fire hazard in the area.
While some cities have strict rules throughout the year regarding the use of fire pits, most cities only impose restrictions when there is low air quality or a high chance of a fire occurring. It’s essential to check your local ordinances to establish whether you may have a fire pit and the rules and considerations regarding its placement.
Can You Have A Fire Pit In The Front Yard?
There are generally no national laws or state laws that prohibit installing and using fire pits in front yards across the US. Except during fire season or at certain times of the year when the risk of fire is far greater, most cities allow for fire pits. They do not require a license or any other such documentation.
It is against local law in some cities to light a fire in your front yard, with some imposing burn bans. The reasons for this are generally safety-related, and the areas that do restrict fires do so only when there is low air quality or a high chance of fire.
If you live in an area that is permanently prone to wildfires, you may find strict restrictions throughout the year. It’s essential, therefore, to check local ordinances, fire codes, required permits, as well as the type of fuel that should be used.
These restrictions exist to ensure that any home fires are kept contained and therefore don’t present a risk for spreading to neighboring homes and ultimately causing an uncontrollable fire.
Several general rules apply to most cities across the US and should be followed when considering a fire pit. A fire pit should always be installed a minimum of ten feet (and up to thirty feet) away from your house as well as any neighboring houses or fences.
When it comes to trees, there should be no overhanging branches whatsoever above or within reach of the firepit. There should also not be any other structures located above or near a firepit, as these could also present a major fire hazard.
Understanding Laws Regarding Fire Pits
Whether or not you are permitted to have a fire pit in your front yard in your area will depend on several factors. Firstly, you will have to check what the local ordinances have to say about the required distance of a fire pit from a building.
This distance can be up to thirty feet, and if your front yard is too small to accommodate for a thirty-foot distance all the way around your fire pit, you may not be able to build it. Other local laws can dictate other factors, such as only allowing fires between certain hours of the day or only on days where there is no wind.
Next, you will have to understand what is considered a recreational fire in your area in terms of its size, location, and the type of fuel that is used for the fire.
A recreational fire is generally one that is used for burning any materials besides rubbish where the fire’s fuel is not completely contained by an incinerator, grill, or other cooking equipment. Most municipalities restrict the size of a fire to be no more than three feet in diameter and three feet high.
Recreational fires can be for a multitude of purposes, including religion, cooking, warmth, or simply pleasure. A recreational fire should always make use of standard fuel for a fire such as firewood, tinder, or kindling. A recreational fire must also be burned in the open air and not an enclosed space.
The concept of open burning is generally not allowed. This means that any fire you make must be contained within some sort of barbeque, outdoor fireplace, or grill. In Houston, for example, open burning is only permitted with a permit and permission from the Fire Marshal.
Location & Space Requirements For Fire Pits
Despite needing to be placed between ten and thirty feet from any nearby buildings, firepits have several other space requirements. One major consideration is the distance from the fire’s edge to the edge of the seating.
Seating placed too close to the fire’s edge will result in an uncomfortable situation for those making use of the firepit. Seating placed too far away from the fire’s edge, however, will essentially defeat the purpose of sitting near the fire pit as you will be seated too far away to enjoy the benefits of the fire.
A general rule of thumb to follow is to allow seven feet of space between the outside edge of the fire and the edge of the seating. This will allow sufficient spacing for users of the firepit to enjoy the fire without becoming too hot and will allow for other people to move past the fire without getting burned.
Generally speaking, fire pits are allowed in most front yards across the United States. There are restrictions in some cities, but the majority of these restrictions apply only during special circumstances such as fire warnings and conditions of low air quality.
There are several considerations to make when opting to build a fire pit in your front yard. By ensuring that you pay attention to the distance from buildings, fences, trees, and other structures, you will ensure that your fire pit is safe for use and will not present a potential fire hazard.