When you burn without a flue, you are using a fire pit. Fire Pits can be portable or built into an outdoor landscape. Fire Pits can utilize wood, be plumbed for natural gas, or use refillable propane bottles. Perfect for the backyard or the great outdoors, a fire pit brings the beauty and excitement of an open flame.
Key decision points
Clearances to combustibles
Open fire pits are prohibited in covered areas. Outdoor rated gas or wood fireplaces with venting (and potentially vent-free gas fireplaces) are required. Always verify proper clearances for your fire pit to combustible materials. This is particularly critical when burning wood. Fire screen covers for wood units are recommended and are available by special order.
Wood vs gas
Built-in wood fire pits are prohibited due to EPA clean air regulations in most parts of California. However, portable wood fire pits are typically allowed as long as “no-burn” days are observed. There are no restrictions on gas.
Wood fire pits can be converted to gas by adding a gas fire ring or burner.
Built-in fire pits
Built in fire pits might be cast concrete with benches or simply a burner or grate surrounded by pavers. See the rings and burners section (link) if using gas. Be aware that drainage is required. Construction materials must be entirely non-combustible not just covered with non-combustible material because heat will transfer.