Insurance Blog
Monday, 29 March 2021 22:42

Get Ready for Fire Pit Season

The snow and ice are gone, and it’s time to move back outdoors. Gathering by an outdoor fire pit is a great way to create a physically distanced, socially connected, warm, and cozy setting. But there are a few things to know before you break out the s’mores supplies and strike the match.

First and foremost, if you are new to using a fire pit in your yard, call your local fire department to check fire pit regulations in your city or town — some municipalities prohibit fire pits, chimineas, and outdoor fireplaces. Once you've determined that it's safe to use a fire pit in your yard, take a few minutes to become familiar with Massachusetts fire pit regulations as well as fire-building and fire safety skills listed below.

Massachusetts Fire Pit Regulations1

There are no special permits required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the use of temporary or portable outdoor fire pits, or cooking fires at single-family dwellings, however, a permit may be required for the installation of permanent fire pits. However, there are several requirements based on Department of Environmental Protection regulations (D.E.P.), the Massachusetts State Fire Laws & Codes (MGL Chapter 148 & 527 CMR), and the 2009 International Fire Code (IFC):

  1. If cooking or recreational fires are taking place on public property or property not owned by the permit applicant, the applicants must demonstrate that they have permission from the owners.
  2. The fire must be small and manageable, no greater than 3 feet in diameter. By definition, a fire larger than 3 feet in diameter and/or 2 feet in height is no longer considered a cooking or recreational fire (sec. 3.3.77 and sec. 3.3.215).
  3. All fires must be constantly attended by a competent person (sec. 10, 11.5, 1).
  4. A garden hose connected to a water supply or other fire extinguishing equipment shall be readily available for use (sec. 10.11, 5.2).
  5. Fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible materials (sec.
  6. Conditions that could cause a fire to spread to within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition (sec,
  7. Outdoor fire pits/fireplaces, chimineas, cooking, and recreational fires are not incinerators. The burning of trash, rubbish, painted/stained wood, and construction debris is prohibited (sec. and 310 CMR 7.07 and 7.08).
  8. Do not cause a nuisance or health hazard to your neighbors. Never use wet or damp wood. This may create needless irritating smoke. Always use dry seasoned wood, charcoal, or specialist fuel (e.g., wood-burning briquettes). If the Wayland Fire Department receives complaints from neighbors that the smoke or smell is bothersome, we will investigate. If deemed necessary, you may be instructed to extinguish the fire (MGL 148 sec 5 & 527 CMR 1 sec. 10.11.2).
  9. BE SAFE! Never use accelerants to light any fires.
  10. Residents wishing to install permanent fire pits/fireplaces [may] need to obtain permits from the building department.
  11. Check with your building department for regulations regarding the use of hibachi, grill, or other similar open flame devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose at non-single-family dwellings. Many municipalities do not allow open flames on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 feet of any structure.


How to Properly Start and Extinguish a Fire in Your Fire Pit

This video by The United States Forest Service shows the best way to start and extinguish a fire, whether it's in your backyard or at a campground.

Remember: "If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave."


More Fire Pit Safety Tips2

Inadequate supervision or improper use of fire pits can cause injury. Be smart:

  • Place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck, or low-hanging tree branches.
  • Always require adult supervision around the fire pit while it is in use and until it has cooled off.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.
  • Use water or sand to fully extinguish the fire.
  • Let the coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container.


6 Fun Facts About S'mores

  1. The name s'more is a contraction of "some more."
  2. The s'more was originally named the “Campfire Graham Cracker Sandwich in the 1920s
  3. A 1956 recipe uses the name "S'Mores."
  4. Middlesex, VT currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest s'more. The massive treat was 5 feet by 8 feet and weighed in at 343 pounds.
  5. The total number of s'mores recipes is unknown, presumably limited only by imagination, as you'll see at Tasty's 39 S'mores Hacks That Will Change Your Life.
  6. National S'mores Day is August 10th.


Enjoy a Safe Fire Pit Season

Gathering around a fire pit is a pleasant way to relax, connect, and enjoy family time outdoors. We hope you and your family have safe fireside experiences that become warm memories.


Sources:, Randolph MA Fire Department, Wayland Fire Department, Wikipedia, Travelers Insurance

1. Randolph MA Fire Department  and Wayland MA Fire Department   

2. Travelers Insurance



Read 2720 times Last modified on Monday, 09 May 2022 21:04

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