Do I Need a Fire Pit Permit?

| July 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

Going for a swim in a backyard pool or sitting around the glowing warmth of a fire pit have become two very popular pastimes across the country. But what many people do not realize is that in many cities and states a fire pit permit may be required before the first match can be struck.

Here is an example of such a document from the Anne Arundel County in Maryland.

Anne Arundel County Open Fire Permit Application Follow Me on Pinterest

Anne Arundel County Open Fire Permit Application

Who Must Have a Fire Pit Permit?

Whether or not you need to secure a permit for a fire pit depends entirely on the laws or regulations in effect where you live. Those who understand the potential risks surrounding the use of an open fire, also tend to understand the necessity of obtaining permits for fire pits.

Each municipality is likely to have its own addendums to state rulings which are based on prevailing conditions. Some require you to obtain a fire pit permit for unenclosed fire pits such as holes dug in the ground or those made from fire bricks and rock and not for portable fully enclosed fire pits. Other cities do not differentiate between the two.

If you are considering adding a fire pit of any kind to your backyard, you need to contact your local authorities. They are the only ones who can tell you if fire pit permits are necessary. They can also explain the rules and laws pertaining to open fires in your municipality. Some of these permits have fees attached to them, while others may be issued free of charge.

Why Do Some Cities Charge for a Fire Pit Permit?

Many people wonder why some cities charge for permits while others issue them for free. In most cases the fees are simply a way for each city to cover the costs of administration. Others ask residents to obtain a permit in order to ensure they understand the importance of practicing proper fire pit safety. Many of these applications are similar in nature to those offered for bonfires and yard waste burns.

These burn permits come with a pamphlet explain the rules pertaining to what type of materials can and cannot be burned. This is done to minimize the environmental impact of open air burning, which has been frowned on in some areas and outright banned in others. These fire permits allow residents to enjoy the warmth of a fire pit without having to worry about running afoul of the law.

How Do You Apply for Fire Pit Permits?

The steps you must go through in order to obtain a permit vary depending on whether you are a renter or a home owner. If you are a renter, most cities require you to have written permission from your landlord. In both cases you will be asked to either fill out an application form at your city offices or in some case the local fire department.

Once you have filled out the application and paid any required fees, many municipalities will send a representative from the fire department to your home to inspect your fire pit installation. It is their job to ensure that the location has been well chosen, and that the overall installation will pose a threat to those using it or to the house or other property surrounding it.

The average application asks for basic information such as who owns the property, its legal address, when the person wants the permit to go into effect, and contact information for the person making the request. As to whether or not a new owner will need to apply for a new fire permit, this also depends entirely on the municipality.

In Conclusion

If you are considering buying a portable fire pit or building one in your backyard, there are a number of regulations which may or may not come into play.  In looking at a number of different municipalities across the country, it seems that the rules vary greatly. Many now require a fire pit permit no matter what type of pit you plan to use.

These permits allow the cities to keep an eye on the number of fire pits going into use within their city limits. The application process also makes it possible for the city fire department to inspect the installation for safety reason, and to explain what materials can and cannot be burned. Before installing a fire pit in your backyard be sure to contact your city offices or local fire department to see if you need to apply for a permit and what the guidelines and regulations are.


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