Tag Archives: Philadelphia fire code

Backyard Fire Pits: Safe for the City?


Nothing says summer like making s’mores over a campfire! But in the city, campfires and fire pits can create a potentially dangerous situation. This week, I took a look at the rules and regulations for having a backyard fire pit in order to make some suggestions as to what makes and models fit the bill.

What’s Allowed?

First, to assess the legality of having a fire pit in an urban environment, I went to straight to the source: I called the Philadelphia Fire Department. According to Philadelphia Fire Code, fire pits are allowed as long as they are:

  • Made of non-combustible materials
  • Covered by a screen or wire mesh with openings that do not exceed one inch
  • Located 15 ft. from any combustible structure, such as a house, shed, fence or trees

It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and to keep a fire extinguisher handy when using your fire pit.

What’s Available?

Next, I took a look at some of the options for turning your outdoor space into your own backyard barbecue.

You could make your own by spreading gravel and placing flagstones on top of it in a circle (just be sure to cover it with wire mesh!):


I love this idea from The Handmade Home blog of putting a tabletop on top of the pit when it’s not in use:Image

Or, if you’re less DIY-inclined, you could purchase one. I like these versions from Lowe’s or your local home improvement store:


What Are You Waiting For?

Now all you need are marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers!