Fire Pit Guidelines


Outdoor wood-burning devices for recreational use have gained in popularity in recent years. For the purpose of these guidelines, "fire pit" includes below ground pits, freestanding fireplaces, chimineas and portable devices intended to contain and control outdoor recreational fires. However, smoke emissions from these fire pits can cause potential or even actual health or nuisance problems
for abutters and other neighbors.

The Ipswich Fire Department allows the use of these fire pits provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The fire must be small and manageable, no greater than 3 feet in diameter. By definition, a fire larger than 3 feet in diameter is no longer considered a cooking or recreational fire.
  2. All fires must be constantly attended by a competent person until the fire is completely extinguished.
  3. It is required to keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or water bucket nearby for quick extinguishment if necessary.
  4. The fire pit shall be placed on a flat, noncombustible surface at grade level and not under any type of overhang, roof or tree limb.
  5. Fire pits will not be located within 25 feet of any structure or combustible materials.
  6. An area of 25 feet will be cleared around the fire pit in all directions of any dry vegetation and combustibles.
  7. The fire and/or smoke cannot pose a hazard to any property.
  8. The smoke from a fire pit cannot create a nuisance or health hazard to the neighborhood.
  9. Do not burn wet or unseasoned wood. Only use dry seasoned firewood or charcoal.
  10. Fire pits and recreational fires ARE NOT INCINERATORS. The burning of trash, rubbish, painted or stained wood, construction debris, leaves, hazardous waste or chemicals is prohibited.
  11. Never use an accelerant to light a fire.
  12. A screen should be used to prevent embers from igniting nearby combustibles.

If a complaint or concern is received, the responding fire department personnel will determine the hazard or nuisance to the public and take appropriate action. Members of the Ipswich Fire Department have the authority to remedy the situation that in their opinion is likely to cause a fire or create a nuisance. With that understanding, the use of the fire pits is taken on an individual basis. The Fire Department will require that a recreational fire be immediately extinguished and discontinued if it is determined that the fire constitutes a hazardous condition, health issue or a nuisance.

Questions? Phone: 978-356-6630