Backyard Fire Pit Safety
Pursuant to Tooele Code 3-1-29, Recreational or cooking fires are allowed by persons on their own property so long as:
- the recreational or cooking intention for the fire is evident;
- the fire pile height does not exceed 12 inches above the bottom of the fire ring, fire pit, or other fire containing structure at any time;
- the fire is contained within a non-combustible fire ring, fire pit, or other fire containing structure no larger than 36 inches in diameter;
- fire extinguishing items are immediately on-hand (e.g., hose, shovel, water bucket, fire extinguisher); and,
- the fire does not become a smoke or fume nuisance to neighboring properties.
Any time you’re dealing with an open flame you should always be responsible and take the necessary precautions to avoid any accidents. An open fire is a beautiful, warming accent to any yard or garden setting. It is inviting and invigorating as a central point of congregation and socialization. Make sure it is also safe so that you are free to enjoy it without the worry of an unforeseen accident.
Wood burning fire pits give the most authentic outdoor fire experience, but a wood burning fire requires the most attention. Here’s a couple of quick tips to remember:
- Be sure to clear away brush and dead or dry vegetation in a 10’-20’ circle around your fire pit;
- Fire pits should be 25 feet from any structure – Don’t place your fire pit under a covered porch or under any low hanging trees where errant sparks and heat might ignite dry foliage and branches.
- ALWAYS use a spark screen so that sparks cannot escape the fire (especially with wet or sappy wood).
- Keep fire extinguishing items immediately on-hand and nearby the fire pit (e.g., water hose, shovel, water bucket, fire extinguisher).
- Always use personal protective equipment. Use a poker or log grabber to move and arrange logs and never try to move a portable fire pit if it’s hot.
- Do not use lighter fluids to start your fires. They can be unpredictable and dangerous. Instead, use kindling and build your fire up slowly so that it is always under control and manageable.
Liquid Propane (LP) and natural gas (NG) fire pits require less attention and tending and are more convenient and easy to light, but that doesn’t mean that you should be any less diligent and cautious.
Every time you intend to use your LP or NG fire pit you should:
- Check all the hoses, valves and attachments to make sure there are no leaks or holes before you introduce any kind of flame or spark for ignition.
- If your fire pit runs on a pilot-light be sure to check it from time to time to make sure it hasn’t been blown out and that combustible gases aren’t filling your fire area.
- Always know how and where to shut of your LP or NG supply in case of an emergency.
Backyard fire pits are lovely additions to any outdoor décor. With a little care and forethought they can be safe, almost worry free additions that will bring you warmth and joy for years to come. Protect yourself, your family and your home by using safe fire tending practices and a little common sense.