As patio fire pits and outdoor fireplaces grow in popularity, so does backyard burning. Homeowners enjoy fire pits and outdoor fireplaces for warmth, recreation and cooking. Backyard fires are permissible in Dublin and the unincorporated Township, as long as they comply with Ohio Fire Code and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines:
- Recreational “small” fires must be confined to an approved outdoor container if the open burn is within 50 feet of a structure.
- The container keeps the size of the fire to less than three feet in width and no higher than two feet.
- The fire is controlled by the burn container, which reduces the fire exposure risk to nearby structures.
- The fire pit or approved container must be at least 15 feet away from any structure or combustible surface. This minimal distance is per national, state and local fire code requirements for open burning in approved containers.
- Avoid windy conditions that can blow hot embers onto combustible surfaces. It’s possible that conditions in Ohio could prompt burn bans, depending on dry weather conditions.
- Remove leaves and other combustible materials around the pit to ensure the fire doesn’t accidentally spread.
- Always have a container of water nearby and a garden hose on standby before starting the fire.
- Do not use lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to start a fire because of the risks of severe burn injury. Instead, place a crumpled piece of paper or cardboard and cover with kindling. As the wood catches fire, add larger pieces until you’re able to add a dry seasoned log or two.
- Extinguish a fire by spreading the ashes over a larger surface area to cool. Then, pour water over the ashes to make sure they are completely extinguished, as ashes can re-ignite.
- If you have a fire that escapes your fire pit and moves into a nearby pile of kindling or a combustible surface, call 9-1-1 immediately, then apply water if it’s available.
Keep in mind that outdoor fires can cause smoke scares if the source of the smoke is not readily apparent. These 9-1-1 calls are treated as potential fires, which commit firefighters and equipment until the source of the smoke is identified. Consider notifying your neighbors of your intent to have backyard fires so they are aware of the source of any smoke they may see or smell.