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Recreational Fires

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The Birmingham Fire Department often receives calls from residents inquiring whether or not recreational fires are permissible in Birmingham. In an effort to help answer this growing concern we have attached a portion of the IFC or International Fire Code of 2021 which was recently adopted by the City of Birmingham.

Recreational fires less than 3 ft. in diameter and 2 ft. in height. [Must have 25 ft. of clearance on all sides from structures and combustible materials]

Recreational fires in approved containers [Must have 15 ft. of clearance on all sides from structures and combustible materials]


307.4.1 Bonfires: NO Bonfires without a permit from the Fire Marshal. [Bonfire – Greater than 3 ft. in diameter by 2 ft. in height]

307.1.1 Prohibited Open Burning: Open burning shall be prohibited when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous.  NO burning of leaves, grass, trash (including paper or cardboard), other household waste, construction materials or demolition waste.

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.

307.4.3 Portable Outdoor Fireplaces: Portable outdoor fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet (4572mm) of a structure or combustible material.

307.5 Attendance: Open burning, bonfires, recreational fires and the use of portable outdoor fireplaces shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished.  A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with Section 906 with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

The Birmingham Fire Department will investigate all burn complaints.  A fine of $500 per code violation may be issued by the Fire Marshal if a violation has occurred.  The Birmingham Fire Department reserves the right to extinguish any fires within its jurisdiction that it deems outside approved Department guidelines.