Brecksville's Handy Homeowner: Backyard Camp Fires
Open fires are permitted in Brecksville, if you follow certain regulations.
Autumn is almost here and nothing could be more fun on a cool evening than staring into a backyard camp fire with friends -- especially if s’mores are on the menu.
But the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency considers any outdoor fire that doesn’t vent into a chimney or stack to be open burning. Some open fires require permission from the EPA and the city of Brecksville.
According to the city of Brecksville’s burning regulations, which are posted on the fire department’s website, no permission is needed if the following requirements are met:
- The fire is less than three feet in diameter and under two feet high.
- The fire is contained in an approved burner and located more than 15 feet from any structure.
- The only fuel used for a fire should be seasoned, dry firewood and a small amount of paper is allowed to help ignite the fire.
- No trash, rubber, plastic, leather or petroleum based products may be burned in the fire.
- No flammable or combustible liquids must be used.
Why are the rules so stringent for open burning? The EPA says on its website that even small camp fires burning clean wood can emit harmful chemicals, as well as spores from plants that can impact people with allergies.
And according to the website, burning household waste can produce dioxin, lead, mercury and other pollutants that have been linked to problems including asthma, respiratory illnesses, nervous system damage and kidney and liver damage.
If you’d like to buy a backyard fire pit, you can get one from Larsen Lumber. Although they don’t keep them in stock, employee Ryan Mironik said that customers can order one through their Do It Best website, and it will be shipped to Larsen Lumber. And if you want to buy firewood, it’s available at Giant Eagle and Del Corpo Home and Garden Center in Broadview Heights.
I'm sad to see the end of summer, but the change of seasons is refreshing. And I'm really looking forward to those s'mores.