Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal? (Expert Advice)

Are you looking for the perfect addition to your backyard? Do you love spending time outside with friends and family? Maybe you’ve been thinking about building a fire pit in your yard so that you can roast marshmallows and have a nice evening out. Or maybe, like me, you just really like watching things burn. 

Either way, here’s what you need to know about backyard fire pits:

Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?
Takeaways from “Can I Have a Fire Pit in My Backyard?”
Always check local regulations before installing a fire pit
Choose a safe location for your fire pit, away from structures
Use a fire pit that is enclosed and has a screen or cover
Never leave a fire unattended
Have a fire extinguisher nearby
Avoid burning materials that could release toxic fumes

Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?

Backyard fire pits are legal in most areas of the U.S., but you must check with your local government to find out what its rules are. A backyard fire pit is a grate on legs that holds burning wood, which can be used for cooking or heating an outdoor space. 

These grills come in different sizes and shapes, but they all have one thing in common: they use fire as a primary source of heat and light.

Backyard fires can contribute to air pollution, which can be harmful to your health and the environment. If you’re concerned about the impact of your fire pit on the air quality, check out our guide on air pollution caused by backyard fires to learn more about the issue and how to mitigate it.

How Do I Get A Permit For A Backyard Fire Pit?

If you are building a fire pit in your backyard, you will need to get a permit from the local fire department. You can also call your local building department and they should be able to tell you what types of permits are required for constructing a new structure. 

It’s best to call ahead rather than show up at their office unannounced because they may not be able to accommodate walk-ins during certain hours of operation.

What Are The Regulations For Backyard Fire Pits?

  • You must have a permit.
  • You must have a fire pit cover.
  • You must have a fire extinguisher.
  • You must have a water hose.

You must have a fire pit ring, which is the metal ring that holds your charcoal or wood in place; this should be at least 12 inches above the ground and two feet from any structure.

If you are building your own fire pit, you must also include an appropriate screen around it (no mesh) to prevent sparks from flying into your yard or house when you’re using it.

Transporting concrete can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. To make things easier, check out our guide on transporting concrete to your backyard for tips and tricks on how to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Where Can I Find Information On How To Build A Backyard Fire Pit?

You can find information about how to build a backyard fire pit at your local hardware store, home depot, paint store, or antique store. You can also call your local fire department and ask them for help building the perfect backyard fire pit that will be safe for you and your family.

Table of Fire Pit Fuel Options

Fuel OptionProsCons
WoodCreates a traditional campfire ambianceRequires firewood storage and cleanup
PropaneEasy to start and extinguishRequires propane tank and hose
Natural gasEasy to start and extinguish, and less expensive than propaneRequires a natural gas line and professional installation

What Should I Know Before Building A Backyard Fire Pit?

You should always check your local laws and regulations before building a backyard fire pit. You want to make sure that you are allowed to have one, and the size and location will be regulated by your city or county as well. If you do not comply with any regulations, you could face fines or even arrest.

Before building your fire pit, it is important to check for safety hazards such as flammable materials around your property. If there is anything like trees or bushes near where the fire will be built, those must be cut back so they do not catch on fire and spread flames into surrounding areas. 

The same goes for nearby structures like houses and sheds; if they are close enough that embers could reach them in a strong gust of wind then extra precautions should be taken during the construction of the new addition to your backyard landscape design plan! 

Also, keep pets out of these areas until everything has cooled down after use (and make sure they don’t eat ashes!).

If you want to enjoy your backyard fire pit in privacy, there are many ways to make your small backyard more secluded. From installing a fence to planting trees and shrubs, check out our guide on making a small backyard private for ideas and inspiration.

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Backyard Fire Pit?

There are many benefits to owning a backyard fire pit. For one thing, cooking with fire is fun! It’s also a great way to entertain guests and make s’mores for dessert. You can even cook food in your fire pit – anything that can be cooked on an outdoor grill will work on a fire pit too!

Table of Fire Pit Materials

Fire Pit MaterialProsCons
SteelDurable, affordable, and easy to maintainMay rust over time
Cast ironLong-lasting and holds heat wellHeavy and difficult to move
CopperAttractive and conducts heat wellExpensive and may discolor over time
StoneAesthetically pleasing and holds heat wellExpensive and difficult to install
BrickAesthetically pleasing and affordableRequires professional installation

What Are Some Safety Tips For Using My Backyard Fire Pit?

The first thing to remember is that you should only use a fire pit that has been built to code. 

Some manufacturers sell kits for building your own backyard fire pit, but these are not always up to city codes and may be illegal in your area. Before you begin constructing your own backyard fire pit, ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk of getting arrested for having an unsafe structure in your yard.

The second tip is related: make sure your backyard fire pit is placed on a level surface so that there won’t be any water runoff when it rains. 

If the ground around the base of your backyard fire pit slopes downward at all, then water runoff could cause erosion and soil erosion and possibly even damage to plants or buildings nearby!

Thirdly, keep any trees or bushes far away from where you’re going to build a backyard fire pit (at least 3 feet away). The heat from these flames can easily set nearby plants alight! And finally…

Backyard greenhouses are a great way to extend your growing season and protect your plants from the elements. But how much does it cost to build one? Check out our guide on the cost of a backyard greenhouse to get an idea of how much you’ll need to budget for your project.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Backyard Fire Pit?

Cost: The cost of building a backyard fire pit can vary depending on the materials you choose, but you should be able to build one for less than $100 if you have access to some old bricks or stones. 

A more elaborate design made from metal or wood will cost more, but not much more a few hundred dollars would be a reasonable estimate for the most elaborate designs.

Size: The size of your fire pit is another factor that impacts its price tag. If you want something small enough for just yourself and your family to use, then it should be fairly easy and cheap (since it won’t take as much material). 

But if you want something big enough for entertaining guests and possibly even some cooking over the flames then it will probably require more work as well as more resources (such as bricks instead of stones).

If you’re considering raising backyard chickens, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Check out our guide on the benefits and drawbacks of keeping backyard chickens to help you make an informed decision. From fresh eggs to pest control, we cover everything you need to know.

Can I Have A Fire Pit In My Backyard If I Live In An Apartment Complex?

If you want to make sure that you can have a fire pit in your backyard, then check with your landlord or apartment manager. If they say it is okay, then make sure it is placed in a safe location where no one can be hurt by it. 

Also, remember that other tenants may want to enjoy their own privacy and quietness at night, so try not to use the fire pit too late at night.

Can I Get Arrested For Having A Backyard Fire Pit?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand the difference between legal and illegal use of backyard fire pits. 

A backyard fire pit is legal when you have permission from your local municipality or state government to build one. If you are using a backyard fire pit without permission, even if it’s on your own property and even if it doesn’t violate any other laws (like being close enough to touch houses), that could potentially get you in some trouble.

If someone complains about your backyard fire pit being too close to their house or if you are burning anything other than wood in it, then that can be considered illegal activity according to many jurisdictions around the country.

What Is The Penalty For Using A Backyard Fire Pit Illegally?

There is no specific penalty for using a backyard fire pit illegally. However, there are usually other penalties you could face which depend on the city and state you live in. 

For example, the maximum fine for using an open flame without a permit in New York City can be $1,000, while it’s only $250 in Los Angeles County. 

If you’re cooking food in your backyard fire pit with no permit, the penalties may be greater since this is considered reckless endangerment under California law (California Penal Code Section 415).

What Is The Difference Between A Fire Pit And A Grill?

A fire pit is a permanent fixture, whereas a grill is portable.

A fire pit has more cooking surface than a grill because it’s usually built into the ground. A grill sits right on top of the ground, so there isn’t as much room for flames or embers to build up beneath it, making it smaller and less capable of holding heat than a fire pit.


While backyard fire pits are legal, they do come with some restrictions. Before you build one, it’s important to check local laws and regulations. You should also make sure it’s safe for use in your area and be aware of potential dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning from using gas-powered devices indoors!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

Can I Have a Fire Pit in My Backyard?: A comprehensive guide to fire pit regulations and safety tips.

Can I Have a Fire Pit in My Backyard?: An overview of fire pit regulations and tips for choosing a safe and legal fire pit.

Backyard Fire Pit Laws & Regulations: A state-by-state guide to fire pit regulations and laws.


Can I have a fire pit in my backyard?

Yes, you can have a fire pit in your backyard, but it’s important to check your local regulations and laws before you start. Some cities and counties may have specific rules regarding fire pits, such as size restrictions and distance from structures.

What type of fire pits are legal?

The type of fire pit that’s legal in your area will depend on your local regulations. In general, fire pits that are enclosed and have a screen or cover are more likely to be allowed.

How far should a fire pit be from a house?

The distance a fire pit should be from a house will depend on your local regulations. In general, fire pits should be at least 10 feet away from any structures, including your house.

Do I need a permit for a fire pit?

The need for a permit for a fire pit will depend on your local regulations. Some areas may require a permit for any type of fire pit, while others may only require a permit for larger or permanent fire pits.

What are some safety tips for using a fire pit?

Some safety tips for using a fire pit include keeping the fire pit at a safe distance from structures, never leaving a fire unattended, using a fire extinguisher nearby, and not burning anything that could release toxic fumes.