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Can someone clarify the city's fire pit rule?

Issue:A reader asked that question, noting 'I thought you couldn't have one within a certain number of feet of a structure, meaning many Tosa yards aren't eligible. All of my neighbors have them and I'd like one too!'

Status: Fire pits indeed are an increasingly popular home item, said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Case. He said the department does not have the resources to check whether each fire pit fits the code requirements,which means at least 25 feet from any structure, trees or shrubbery and not near any dry grass, weeds or other combustible material.

'Most of our inspections come from complaints,' Case said. He said the department can review plans designed by a contractor. Requests for variances are reviewed by the board of appeals.

Commercial properties such as restaurants with an outdoor seating area that has a fire pit have done so through a variance based on safety features such as an approved sprinkler system. An example of that was profiled in a November 2015 Ask Now question regarding Colectivo Coffee at 68th and Wells streets.

The department recommends that those who plan to install their own fire pit should review Title 14.24 of the Fire Prevention Code. The department will e-mail a copy upon request.

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