Build A Fire In Your Backyard Without Breaking Any Rules (California & USA)

Do you ever want to feel the warmth of a crackling fire but don’t want to go camping?

Then having your own bonfire hangout spot may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Before building any type of backyard fire, it is important to check on your local laws and regulations on burn ban laws.

Check with your local government to find out the specific rules on fire ban, fire code, and regulations that apply to your area.

If you live in an urban area, check with your local fire department to see if bonfires are permitted.

Many times, you will need a burn permit in order to have a large fire in your backyard. If you do not have a permit, you could be fined or even arrested.

If you live in a rural area, there are usually no restrictions on backyard burning.

However, as a responsible person, it is always a good idea to check with your neighbors before having one.

You don’t want to cause any problems or make them uncomfortable with the excessive smoke.

Few things you should keep in mind before starting a fire in your background:

  1. First, make sure that you have a safe outdoor space to set the fire, and that it is away from any buildings, flammable material, or other combustible materials like lighter fluid.
  1. Next, be sure to put out the fire completely when you are finished using it.
  1. Then for waste disposal, make sure that the ashes from your bonfire are no longer hot before disposing of them in your household garbage.

Failure to do so could result in a dangerous fire hazard. Keep a garden hose nearby.

There are a variety of different types of fire pits to choose from on the market today, so it is important to decide what kind of backyard fire pit will best suit your needs.

Whether you want to host a large party, for ceremonial purposes, or for recreation fires to just relax with friends and family, there is a fire for you.

In a hurry? If you’re looking for a large and impressive bonfire, then you will need to do some preparation.

Preparation needed

You will need to gather logs and stack them in a circle.

  • Make sure that the logs are close enough together that the fire won’t spread.
  • Once the fire is lit, you can enjoy all the warmth and ambiance it has to offer.

If you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate fire that has outdoor features then you may want to consider using a fire pit.

This is a great option for people who don’t have a lot of space for open fires or who want to save on materials.

Each type has a similar purpose and looks like a similar device but has its own set of benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before making a purchase.

Most Popular Fire Pits: Advantages vs. Disadvantages

Portable Fire Pit

One of the most popular choices for backyard gatherings and camping trips.


  • A great choice for those who want to be able to take their fire pit with them wherever they go.
  • A good choice for those who live in specific areas that have strict regulations about having permanent fire pits.
  • It can also be used indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of tank you choose to use.
  • They’re easy to set up and take down and they’re relatively inexpensive.


  • Can be a bit dangerous if not used properly.
  • Make sure you read the instructions carefully before using one.

Propane Fire Pit

Propane fire pits are a good choice for those who want a fire pit that is easy to set up and take down.


  • Easy to set up and take down.
  • Propane burns cleaner than wood or charcoal, so it is better for the environment.
  • They’re easy to use and offer a consistent flame.


  • Can be a bit more expensive than portable fire pits.
  • Plus, you’ll need to have a propane tank on hand to use them.

Solid Fuel Fire Pit

A great choice for those who want an eco-friendly option for their fire pit and open flame.


  • More traditional and eco-friendly fire pit.
  • Ideal for those in natural areas because these pits use natural materials, such as wood or charcoal, to create a flame.
  • Most of these models come with grates that allow you to place your food directly over the flames.
  • Great way to cook food outdoors without having to use a barbecue!
  • Best way to save money on fuel costs.


  • You will need to have access to a source of natural materials.
  • If you live in an area where there are not many trees, you may need to purchase charcoal or wood specifically for your fire pit.
  • A bit more difficult to set up than other types, but they offer a longer-lasting flame.

No matter what kind of portable fire pit you choose for some important reasons. 

Be sure to read all general guidelines that come with your outdoor fire pit before using it, and always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

Never leave your fire unattended, and make sure that the area around your fire gas pit is clear of any flammable materials. 


Can I have a fire pit in my backyard in California?

Yes, most cities allow fire pits. But before building one, it is important to check the local ordinances. 

Some cities in Southern California have specific laws for building fire pits.

Another option is propane or natural gas fire pits which are more environmentally friendly than wood-burning fire pits.

What is the best material to use as a base for a fire pit?

Granite, marble, and slate are hard rocks that are very dense and do not absorb moisture readily.

This means they are safer to use around your fire pit. Other types of safe rocks to use include fire-rate brick,  lava rocks, and poured concrete.

Can you burn wood in your backyard in California?

You now need a valid burn permit to do open burning or do outdoor burning in many cities in California, including Sacramento.

You need a permit to burn construction debris, branches, leaves, and other dead vegetation in your yard.

Burn season is regulated by air districts to ensure air quality and wind direction.

Before you burn something, you should ask your local fire district and check the details on the permissive burn days.

With a little bit of research, or reading your local newspaper you can find the perfect fire pit for your needs and enjoy hours of outdoor entertainment.

I hope this article is helpful and answered your question about having a fire in your backyard. If you have more questions, leave them in the comments below.

Enjoy your backyard fire safely!

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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