Fences date back as far as ancient Greece and Rome, where people used them to divide the land. The original word comes from fens, which is the root for defense, and that is how they were used.
Modern fences are more about privacy, though they still mark boundaries or keep animals in. How close can a fire pit be to a fence? I will explain why you can’t put them next to each other.
A fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from your wood fence and any overhanging trees, porch, or structure. Sparks and burning ash can travel 13 feet or more. If you have a vinyl fence, move the fire pit an extra 2 to 5 feet away for safety because vinyl melts at a lower temperature than fires burn.
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How Close Can You Put A Fire Pit To A Fence
You can put a fire pit about 10 feet from most fences. When you plan to set up a fire pit, it is essential to measure distances since sparks and heat travel.
Moreover, it is necessary to watch out for overhanging trees, porches, and buildings since a tiny spark can quickly turn into a big fire.
According to The Zebra, “An estimated 358,500 home fires occur every year.” That’s more than one in every four hundred homes annually.
While most of these start inside with candles, chimneys, and stoves, plenty also begin in the yard with improperly tended fires.
Especially if you have a wooden or vinyl fence, it is essential to keep all fire sources away. It’s better to be overcautious than a statistic. Flames can jump from a burning fence line to your home or your neighbors in an instant.
Worse still, typical insurance doesn’t cover improperly placed fire pits, particularly if you leave them untended or fail to provide proper safety equipment nearby to put the blaze out before it spreads.
How Far Should A Fire Pit Be From A Vinyl Fence
It isn’t easy to find any information specific to vinyl fencing. As a general rule, I’d say stick to a ten-foot minimum.
However, vinyl melts at a lower temperature than fires burn. You may want to move the pit an extra two to five feet away for safety.
According to EZSnapDirect, vinyl siding will start to warp and melt between a 160 and 165 degrees. By comparison, paper burns at four hundred fifty-one degrees.
In summer, even reflected light can get hot enough to warp vinyl, so your fire pit can radiate enough to damage it.
How Far Should A Fire Pit Be From A Wood Fence
Wood fences need a 10-foot minimum of space from fire pits. However, sparks and burning ash has been known to travel thirteen or more feet easily. A fire pit is something you should only consider if you have ample enough space.
If the weather where you live has been unusually dry, then it’s better to wait and have a fire some other time.
Unfortunately, even in damp conditions, a fire can spread to a wooden fence. Moreover, when the boards are untreated or older, you’ll find it catches alight more easily.
Notably, more than a couple of years old wood will burn less hot than younger wood. However, treated lumber, like you’d find in many fences, can put off dangerous chemicals when burned.
Can A Fire Pit Be Near A Fence: Laws and Regulations
The laws and regulations regarding fire pits vary wildly from one city to the next. Generally, you can have a backyard fire pit if it doesn’t bother the neighbors or violate any burn bans.
When there is a burn ban in place, it’s usually because an area has been especially dry, and the risk of fires spreading is considered severe.
Check with your HOA and local safety board for more information on burning in cities.
The list below has some of the standard requirements.
- A responsible legal adult must tend fires. This means you can’t be intoxicated or too far from where the actual fire is happening, or you could violate the local laws.
- Your fire should be no more than three feet wide. Moreover, the flames should not be more than three feet high. This is generally considered a small or reasonable size for a backyard fire.
- Fires must be ten feet from your property line. Naturally, this is to keep your neighbors safe and make sure the smoke doesn’t bother them. However, even when you have a so-called smokeless fire pit, the same rules apply.
- You can burn wood and paper, but do not add cans, trash, plastics, rubber, or toxic plants like poison ivy to the blaze. Trash burning is illegal in most city limits.
- Fires must be a ‘safe’ distance from anything combustible like wood fences, decks, and buildings. This is especially important when you have a propane tank or other flammable liquids on your property.
- If the wind speed exceeds fifteen miles per hour you cannot light a fire. When winds are this fast, they carry sparks and embers further, and they stir up much more.
Helpful Tips To Know How Close A Fire Pit Can Be To A Fence
Choosing a safe location for your fire pit is part of being a responsible homeowner or renter. Ten feet is generally an okay distance, but if you have more space, it’s a good idea to use it.
Here are more helpful tips to know how close a fire pit can be to a fence.
- If your area has no special laws for fire pits, please use common sense. A lack of legislation never stopped a fire from burning out of control. Keep your fire pit away from everything flammable, not just your fence.
- If the fence around your property line is metal or a brick wall, that doesn’t mean you should move the fire closer. Keeping your fire pit at least ten feet from any property line is still important.
- Logs in a fire pit should only be three-fourths as long as the pit itself at most. Moreover, it’s better to burn smaller stacks over a long period than to have one big blaze. A large fire is pretty, but it’s also far more likely to throw sparks and ash an unreasonable distance away.
- Ten feet is the minimum you should consider. However, twenty feet, with a cleared area around the pit free from weeds and other combustibles, is a much better choice.
Local regulations for fire pits vary widely from one area to the next, and the specific distance from fences often isn’t specified. It is essential to check with your local zoning laws to avoid getting a ticket and moving a built-in pit at a later date.
Notably, some HOA’s and communities don’t allow fire pits at all. Plus, when it’s dry or too windy, there are burn bans to consider.
Luckily, in most towns and neighborhoods, you can have a fire pit if it has at least ten feet of clearance from fences and surrounding buildings.
Be sure to plan carefully before you set up a portable fire pit or build a more permanent one in your yard.