Recreational Fire

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Are recreational fires allowed?

Yes, recreational fires are allowed, but only under the conditions set out in the International Fire Code 2015 Edition:

  • Fires cannot be located within 50 feet of a structure or flammable/combustible material. This distance can be reduced to 25 feet if the burning pile is not more than 3 feet in diameter and less the 2 feet in height. Make sure that conditions that could cause a fire to spread are eliminated before starting. If using a store bought fire pit the code allows for them to be as close as 15 feet to combustibles or to follow the manufacturers recommendations.
  • Bonfires and other recreational fires should be constantly attended until the fire has gone out. A fire extinguisher or other fire-extinguishing equipment (dirt, sand, water, etc.) should be available in case of emergency.
  • When current conditions or local circumstances make fires hazardous, fires are also prohibited.

One of the most common problems with recreational fires is that there is a potential of unwanted smoke and odor. Sometimes the smoke can irritate neighbors or possibly affect those with health problems. The best practice is to let them know that you are starting the fire beforehand. However, as a fire department, we do not have the authority to require the fire to be put out if we receive complaints about the smoke or odor and they are following the above guidelines.


Offensive, objectionable or nuisance fires are no longer required to be extinguished unless the fire is causing or contributing to a hazardous situation. If an individual meets all of the burning requirements as they are posted in the International Fire Code and on this web site, and the fire is not causing or contributing to a hazardous situation, the fire department no longer has the authority to extinguish an individuals recreational fire. However, if the fire does contribute or is causing a hazardous situation the fire department is authorized to extinguish the fire immediately. Any questions concerning this new code change can be addressed to the Sandy City Fire Marshal.

Section 307.3 Extinguishment authority. When open burning creates or adds to a hazardous situation, or a required permit for open burning has not been obtained, the fire code official is authorized to order the extinguishment of the open burning operation.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at (801) 568-2930.