Can I Have A Fire in My Backyard?

A firepit can be not only a fun activity but also something that brings everyone closer. But you might be asking, can I have a fire in my backyard? The technicalities and sometimes even legalities can end up being quite confusing. But fear not, as this post will help to deal with all of that.

You can set up a fire pit and have a fire in the backyard. But only if it’s under control and conforming to your regional fire safety regulations. Otherwise, it won’t be legal. With proper setup and safety measures, you can have an amazing fire right in your backyard.

You probably still have a lot of questions. What are the technicalities, what might the regulations be, what are the safety measures you might need to take, etc.? I will be explaining all of those in this article.

What Are the Fire Regulations You Need to Follow?

Fire regulations are there for a reason, and never make the mistake of not following them. Ensuring that the fire you are making in your backyard is safe and will not cause any damages. An out-of-control fire can cause a lot of monetary damage and can even cause the death of people and animals, so beware.

However, fire safety regulations vary a lot. Not only can they vary from country to country and state to state, but they can also be different within different parts of the same city. It is a good idea to check with your local authority about what rules and regulations you need to follow to have a fire in your backyard.

While the specific rules might be different, there are some general rules you should follow everywhere. These are –

Keep Your Fire Small

Do not make your fire overly large or burn any materials that can cause environmental pollution and disturbance to people living nearby.

On the general legalities of bonfires in your backyard, check out this article. If you’re planning on making a recreational fire, then I highly advise that you give the linked article a read unless you want the authorities to come knocking at your doorstep.

 Keep Flammables Away

  • You should also not have flammable materials nearby and have ample open space around the fire. Make sure it is on open ground, and no tree branches are hanging above it. Also, clean the nearby area of dry weeds or leaves or anything that can catch on fire.

Secondary flames are the primary reason for most accidental fire breakouts, and you do not want the memory of burning down your neighbourhood on your conscience.

Be Aware of Local Laws

In New Zealand

In all seasons, most fires used for cooking or recreational purposes are permitted. Larger fires such as campfires, braziers are prohibited during the prohibited season. And burn piles, and large bonfires need a permit even in other seasons.

In the UK

You cannot have anything that can create harmful fumes or smoke that might disturb people nearby. Other than that, UK fire regulations are very lenient. While in the US, you can only have a controlled fire within your private property and burn specified wood types. Your fireplace also needs to be checked often.

In Canada

There are stringent rules regarding the fire. You can’t have anything that can be considered an open-air burning. Usually, the local authorities will give permits based on the occasion, so it is necessary to check with the authorities whenever you plan a fire.

In Australia

there’s sometimes a lot of damage by fire, so the law dictates that not only recreational fires be small and contained, but also all kinds of signs of danger are spotted and taken care of beforehand. Similarly, in Africa, the law restricts open area fires to prevent wildfires.

While these are only a few places I have mentioned, area-specific rules exist almost everywhere. It is always a good idea to have everything checked out with your local authorities, so you know the ins and outs of what is permitted and what is not.

How to Stay Safe Around the Firepit?

The first step to staying safe around the fire pit is to keep a safe distance from the fire. Do not stay close to the fire where you might be in danger of getting scorched. Always have adult supervision around the fire and do not try any tricks on the fire. Try to keep the fire stable and under control.

You should also be prepared for any accidents that might happen. Keep water, sand, and even a fire extinguisher, if possible, nearby so, in the off chance the fire might go out of control, you can extinguish it. Note before trying to stop any fire in a gas or propane firepit, shut off the fuel source.

First Aid for Burns

If someone experiences a burn, apply room temperature water to the burned place immediately. Do not apply cold water as the sudden decrease in temperature can cause further problems. An OTC pain reliever can also help with the pain. Do not hesitate to ring an ambulance or consult a doctor if the burn is serious. You can do more research on first aid for burns by clicking St-Johns, our local emergency medical experts in New Zealand.

How Big of a Fire Can I Have in My Backyard?

Anything larger than a small fire pit is most likely not allowed by your local authorities. Even if your local authorities are lenient, you should not make your fire overly large. If you have a fire in your backyard, then it should be controlled and small.

Fires bigger than 0.5 square meters are best to be avoided. Large burn piles and bonfires are not a good idea. Ideally, you stick with a small fire pit, campfire, or barbeque fire.

How to Keep A Fire Contained and Small?

The best way to keep a fire contained and safe is to have a fire ring. A fire ring is a ring constructed of stones around the fire to keep burning restricted inside a small circle. This and making a hole in the ground helps a lot in containing the fire.

It would be best if you also burned properly seasoned dry firewood. Do not burn any poisonous wood. More smoke means more of a chance that the fire will be out of control, so avoid burning moist firewood.

How to Make A Safe DIY Fire?

The easy way to keep your DIY fire safe is to keep it inside a constructed structure. A hole and a fire ring are the most basic technique, but you can always make it a bit better. To begin with, you could create a bed of sorts with a layer of stones.

Or you could construct a whole fireplace with stones or brick and concrete. People often create very nifty-looking structures with side floorings and walls with stones as their firepits. You can even try out large metal containers to use as fire pits. Large tire rims, old washing machine drums, etc., make good fire pits.

What Are Some of The Easiest and Cheapest Options for A Firepit?

The general rule of thumb in avoiding unnecessary costs while making the backyard fire pit is not to overdo anything. Keep it simple, and if possible, make it with things that you already have. Do not go with complex and elaborate structures that require expensive stones. Make do with what’s available.

Going with metal readymade options can also be a good idea. Look for the ones that provide functionality and safety features such as deep basins and safety covers.  Good quality fire pits are readily available for around $100 if you look online.

Can You Burn Wood in Your Backyard?

Apart from a few places that directly prohibit open-air wood fires, burning wood in your backyard fire pit is the best option. The alternative is gas. While that can be less of a hassle when it comes to safety and smoke, it can also be very costly.

When choosing wood, choose properly seasoned dry firewood. Do not use wood that still has moisture and sap in it as that will create a lot of smoke. Try to look for good hardwood available in your region. Ash, Hickory, Beech, Kanuka, Manuka, Kowhai, etc., are all great options.

Why Are Fireplaces An Amazing Activity?

As you are already reading this article, you probably don’t need to be told that fire pits are quite fun. Not only they can be a fun activity for a few people, but they also have a lot of other benefits too. A fireplace can introduce a comforting area in the backyard and help the whole family be closer together.

They can be used for cooking too and can act as an extension of the house. This is an activity you can do all year round. Working on a fireplace will also make family members more physically active, less worried about fatigue.

What to Look for In General When Buying Or Constructing A Fire Pit?

Your priority in building or buying a firepit should be safety, whether to construct a firepit or buy one readymade. Stone, brick, concrete, or metal surfaces are what will withstand fire properly, so do not go for something that might take fire damage over time.

Look for safety covers in metal portable fire pits. Also, look for other functionalities. A lot of fire pits will have options to grill or barbeque on them. Some have shields to prevent sparks. Look for the right combinations of safety and functionality features for the best value.


Backyard fires can be quite a fun and pleasant activity. But they must be done properly, and you should always follow proper safety guidelines. Keep it contained, safe, and environment friendly, and you should be good to go.

Thanks for reading till the end. I hope this article answered all the questions related to “Can I have a fire in my backyard?”. Until next time, stay safe and farewell.

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