GFFR updates backyard fire pit rules

Great Falls Fire Rescue has updated the rules for backyard fire pits.

GFFR requires the following when it comes to using an outdoor fire pit within the City of Great Falls.

  • Outdoor fire pits can either be purchased, or constructed by the homeowner.
  • If purchasing an outdoor fire pit or Chiminea, the fire pit shall be UL listed and come with a spark arrestor.
  • Portable outdoor fire pits shall be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.
  • If constructing a fire pit, fire pits shall be constructed of non-combustible materials such as masonry bricks, metal or concrete. Fire pits shall have a non-combustible bottom made of concrete, bricks, or other non-combustible material. The fire pit shall have a fire/fuel area not to exceed 4 feet in diameter. The depth of the fire pit shall be a minimum of four 4 inches and capable of containing all burned materials.
  • All constructed fire pits shall have a spark arrestor.
  • Non-portable fire pits shall not be located within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material.
  • Hand dug fire pits without non-combustible materials are NOT considered an approved fire pit.
  • All fires shall not exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.
  • Only firewood or charcoal shall be burned.
  • Construction materials, yard waste, vegetation and garbage cannot be burned.
  • Any propane or natural gas fire tables must follow all manufacturer’s specifications. In the absence of manufacturer’s specifications, fire tables shall be at least 15 feet from any type of structure of combustible material.

When using a fire pit, follow these safety protocols, according to GFFR:

  • Always have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby.
  • Make sure the fire is constantly attended.
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby for any accidental burns.
  • Put out the fire completely before leaving the pit unattended or before finishing the evening. Make sure you completely extinguished the embers.
  • Do not light or use a fire during windy conditions.
  • If fire restrictions are implemented, do not burn. The dry conditions could influence rampant fires based on a single ember or spark.
  • Never allow a child to start a fire or play near the fire. Children should always be closely supervised around a fire pit.
  • Always use dry wood and kindling to light your fire. Never use accelerants, garbage or garden clippings to light a fire. Also, never throw any materials besides seasoned woods onto your fire.
  • Be aware that GFFR or the Great Falls Police Department can order fires to be extinguished, such as those that create objectionable odors, smoke, nuisances or when local conditions makes these fires hazardous.