A campfire is an excellent way to bring friends and family together for a cozy evening around the fire, but you might be wondering, “Can I have a campfire in my backyard?”
This is a good question because not everyone can have fires, at least not without some restrictions. It all depends on where you live.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss all the factors you should consider and the necessary steps to take when building a campfire in your backyard.
We’ll also discuss the type of wood you should use and the best locations for your campfire.
Finally, we’ll provide tips for keeping your campfire safely contained and extinguishing it properly.
Are you looking to add a cozy fire pit to your backyard? If so, keep reading to learn more.
With the right safety precautions, you can enjoy a campfire in the safety of your own backyard.
What is a Campfire?
This might seem like a silly question, but some people may see this differently than others.
A lot of times, we confuse campfires and bonfires, which are different in size and function.
A bonfire is a very large fire and difficult to get anywhere near because it’s so big and hot. It’s more like a burn pile of yard waste like tree limbs or other burning materials.
A campfire is a small fire you would have in a fire pit or even just on the ground. It is meant for sitting around, possibly making food, or just enjoying time with the family.
You can have a campfire in a backyard fire pit, a portable fire pit, or even just a small outdoor fire on the ground.
Now that we’re clear on what a campfire is let’s talk about whether or not you can have one in your backyard.
Can I Have a Campfire in My Backyard?
This totally depends on where you live. Whether or not you are allowed to have a campfire in your backyard will depend on the regulations of your local government.
Some local governments might have laws that prohibit having a campfire in your backyard for safety reasons. Other local governments may have no restrictions on campfires.
Some local governments may allow burning but require a burn permit for campfires in backyards.
It is important to research your local laws and regulations before starting a campfire in your backyard.
The reason for local ordinances when it comes to burning anything on your property is usually to avoid forest fires.
Your local governing body will have local authorities, usually the Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture, that monitor the weather conditions and wind speed and issue different warnings and bans on burning.
What is a Burn Ban?
A burn ban is a temporary restriction set by local government authorities on open-air burning due to weather conditions or air quality concerns.
Burn bans are usually issued in areas that are having a drought or during periods of high fire danger, like high winds.
Sometimes bans are placed on the burning of materials like construction debris or demolition debris, but not something small like a contained campfire.
You might be wondering what the big deal is. A little fire in your backyard can’t be that serious. But local regulations are actually taken more seriously than you might expect.
Illegal burning in your yard is a serious offense that can get you significant fines and even criminal charges depending on the local laws.
Partial vs Full Burn Ban
If your area has an active burn ban, that doesn’t mean that having a fire is totally out of the question.
There are partial burn bans and full burn bans. Furthermore, there are sometimes exceptions to a full burn ban that you should know.
Partial burn bans mean that they may still allow the burning of wood within restricted time frames. The rules for burning during a partial burn ban are typically still really strict, even if there are windows of time when burning is allowed.
Be sure to follow the rules closely.
During a full burn ban, some areas will still allow propane-fueled fire alternatives, like an outdoor propane fire pit table or another fire feature fueled by natural gas.
Sometimes, within city limits, a propane-fueled campfire is all property owners are allowed to burn. That’s because wood fires can throw debris into the air that can catch things nearby on fire.
It’s harder to keep your fire at a safe distance from everything in a more congested area.
Fire safety reasons are always what’s behind the rules of campground fires in your backyard. So even though they might be frustrating, they make sense and should be taken seriously.
How to Safely Have a Backyard Campfire
If you’re new to starting and safely enjoying backyard campfires, here are some safety tips!
Open fires are so fun to hang out around in the evenings, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can go wrong quickly.
Follow these steps for a safe backyard campfire!
1. Find out if burning is currently allowed in your area: If it is, obtain any necessary permits. If there are no permits that you need to get, just make sure you follow any rules in place.
2. Choose a safe location: Look for a level spot that is away from trees, bushes, and other vegetation.
3. Clear the area: Remove any combustible material, such as leaves, twigs, and dry grass, from around your campfire.
4. Make a fire ring: If you don’t have a fire pit built in your backyard or have a portable outdoor fireplace, use bricks, stones, or metal to create a perimeter for your campfire. This will keep the fire from spreading on the ground outside of your intended burning place.
5. Gather your firewood: Collect small, dry logs and sticks for your fire.
6. Start your fire: Light the fire using matches or a lighter. Avoid using flammable liquid like any type of gas to start your fire. That’s a great way to singe your eyebrows, potentially start a forest fire, or end up with excessive smoke that, depending on your location, can send the wrong signals (pun intended) to authorities.
7. Monitor your fire: Make sure to stay near the campfire and keep an eye on it. Pay attention to wind direction and always have a source of water close by, like a garden hose or even a fire extinguisher, in case things get out of hand.
8. Extinguish your fire: When you are done with your fire, use a shovel to spread out the ashes and pour water over them.
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