Want a Fire Pit? You’ll Need an App(lication) for That

image via decosee.com

image via decosee.com

With warmer days and cool nights this spring, many neighborhood residents are enjoying the outdoors cozying up next to their fire pits. While most residential fire pits are approved to use, any open burning within the city of Columbus requires a permit and must be approved by the Division of Fire. Residents wishing to use a fire pit must ensure that they and their fire pits comply with all of the following requirements.

  1. Fire pits must be commercial appliances with a screen in the top or a chimenea.
  2. Operators must use cleaned, seasoned firewood or its equivalent.
  3. Operators must have a reliable water source or an approved fire extinguisher nearby and ready at all times for immediate use.
  4. Fire pits must be supervised at all times, and fires must be completely extinguished before leaving fire pits unattended.
  5. Fires must be contained within the appliances with no flames extending outside of the appliances or screens.
  6. Fire pits must be no less than 10 feet away from combustible structures such as a houses, fences, sheds, etc. They must be at least 25 feet away from apartments.
  7. Fire pits cannot be used during air quality alerts.
  8. Fire pits must be approved by the Division of Fire, and users must have permits to operate them.
  9. Regardless of the permission given, if neighbors register ANY complaints, fires must be extinguished immediately. Examples of complaints include smoke drifting into a neighbor’s house, embers drifting on to a neighbor’s property and fire that is not fully under the operator’s control.

To obtain a permit and start the approval process, please refer to the city of Columbus web site, obtain the Fire Inspection Permits Application for burning permits and submit the application. More detailed information can be found in the Ohio Fire Code Section (307-308) OPEN BURNING.

Below are some definitions to help residents better understand the requirements:

What is meant by a “commercial” fire pit?

A portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other noncombustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney operating in the top. By definition it can be purchased or site constructed.

Whose air quality alert do operators need to pay attention to?

The Ohio EPA: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/airohio/forecast.aspx

With whom do neighbors register complaints? Is it enough that they tell the operator that there’s a problem, or do they have to contact the Division of Fire or the police?

Complaints about recreational fires and outdoor portable fireplace are best handled by calling 911 at the time of the occurrence. The Division of Fire will send the closest engine company to investigate and, if warranted, will have the fire extinguished

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