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How Safe is Having a Fire Pit on Your Property?

Owning a home is a huge investment. All homeowners and property managers want to keep their home as safe as possible. Fires can be a devastating accident that could cause structural damage as well as harm any individuals in the path of a blaze. That’s why, as the fire pit experts at WNY Fire Pits, we take safety very seriously. In fact, it’s our number one priority – and that’s why we wanted to cover the topic of fire pit safety in our blog.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, between the years of 2011 and 2015, there were over 358,500 house fires in the United States, causing over $6.7 billion in structural damage. The majority of these accidents were caused by cooking equipment, followed by heating and lighting equipment.

Laws Regarding Fire Pits in Buffalo, NY

Having an open flame in your yard creates a potential hazard, which is why the city of Buffalo has strict rules prohibiting what they call “open fires.” According to Buffalo ordinance 66-19: “No person shall kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open, unconfined fire on or in any street or public place or public grounds or upon any private premises in the City.”

It’s important to note that WNY Fire Pits strictly adheres to city ordinances, but these rules in Buffalo do not mean that fire pits themselves are prohibited within city limits.

Instead, if you live within city limits your fire pit must fall into the category of a controlled flame, meaning you must have a gas burning fire pit. This was put in place due to the smaller lot sizes that exist within bigger cities, making the likelihood of an ember from a fire landing in a neighboring tree or roof and causing a fire to break out less likely.

Open Vs. Contained Fires in Western New York

In other areas of Western New York, such as Orchard Park, you are able to install a wood-burning fire pit in your yard because of the diminished risk of neighborhood fires brought on by larger land plots in this area. For more information on

Certain areas in Western New York may differentiate what type of fires residents are allowed to burn on their own properties. For instance, the city of Buffalo does not allow fire pits to be wood burning because they are considered “open” and have a higher risk of causing a house fire in closely constructed neighborhoods.

By definition, an open flame is any fire that cannot be shut off quickly and precisely. Gas-burning fire pits are not open flames because they are operated by an on and off switch and contain no burning wood, removing the possibility of a log reigniting while it is  not being attended to.

However, some areas deem wood-burning fire pits contained, if it stays within a certain size, such as a flame reaching a height of no more than 3 feet, and if it stays a certain number of feet away from structures.

For more information on specific fire pit laws, please make sure to contact our team of experts.

How do You Safely Maintain a Fire Pit?

Knowing how to safely operate your fire pit, whether it’s wood or gas burning, is key to keeping your property safe. Thankfully, with a little care, it’s easy to enjoy your fire pit safely!

Here’s how:

Stay Close to Your Fire Pit When You’re Using it

Much like when cooking on a stove, your best safety measure are your senses. Is it suddenly smoking outside of the pit? Do you smell chemicals burning?  

With fire pits, it’s important that you stay close to your fire to detect any complications, like making sure that it doesn’t spread embers into you or your neighbor’s yard or a nearby shrub. Though these cases are rare with both wood and gas-burning fire pits, it’s key that a responsible adult keeps an eye on the flame as it’s burning and for a short period after it is put out.

Use a Fire Pit Screen

If you have a wood burning fire pit, you may want to use a fire pit screen to make sure that you can contain embers more effectively.

These fire pit accessories may not be necessary on every occasion, especially if you are skilled at building a wood-burning fire and effectively putting one out. However, fire pit screens add an additional level of security, especially on windy days.

Give Your Fire Pit Appropriate Margins

When you install a fire pit in your yard, you will want to make sure that it is appropriately spaced away from your home, sheds, fences, brush, and wood piles. This point of safety is something your expert team at WNY Fire Pits will discuss with you and take into account when building a fire pit on your property.

The key to fire pit safety is limiting the possibility of the flame or an ember reaching a flammable material.

If you have any questions about how a fire pit could fit into your lifestyle and property, and how safe it would be to install one, please call us at 716-322-3000.

We offer free consults and estimates to discuss what the best option for you is!

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