Fire Pit Rules and Regulations

Cleveland Heights Guide to Fire Pit Use

With spring and summer on the way, many of our residents have questions regarding the use of fire pits in our city.  They are permitted with some simple, common sense, rules to guide their use. The section below outlines our city fire code as it relates to this topic:

  1. Allowed open burning includes bonfires, campfires and use of outdoor fireplace equipment, whether for cooking food for human consumption, pleasure, religious, ceremonial, warmth, recreational, or similar purposes, if the following are met:
    • They are fueled with clean seasoned firewood, natural gas or equivalent, or any clean burning fuel with emissions that are equivalent to or lower than those created from the burning of seasoned firewood;
    • They are not used for waste disposal purposes; and
    • They shall have a total fuel area of three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height.
    • Burning of yard waste, leaves and garden waste is strictly prohibited.
    • All such fires shall be located a minimum of twenty-five feet from any structure or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within twenty-five feet of a structure shall be eliminated with the following exception:
      • Fires in an approved outdoor fireplace (chiminea) may be located within fifteen feet of a structure provided they are placed on a noncombustible surface such as a concrete patio.
      • Outdoor fireplaces (chimineas) are prohibited from use on any wood deck, balconies, or under an overhanging structure.
    • A method of extinguishment; garden hose, bucket of sand/dirt/water, or an extinguisher with a minimum rating of 4-A shall be readily available.
    • All fires shall be attended constantly until properly extinguished.
    • Open burning that will be offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions due to atmospheric conditions or when local circumstances make such fire hazardous shall be prohibited. The fire department has the authority to order extinguishment of the fire.

Some important highlights from the code are the limitations on placing a fire pit closer than 25 feet to a structure or combustible materials (fence, shed, etc.), the need to have a way to put out the fire when finished or if it grows too large, and the use of only clean, dry, seasoned wood.  Use of improperly seasoned wood can cause excessive smoke and result in calls from concerned neighbors or passers-by.  In addition to the code rules, make sure that a responsible adult monitors any children in the area.  It only takes a moment for a tragedy to occur.  Follow these simple guidelines and enjoy your spring and summer!