Safety tips and requirements for campfires in Seattle

When the weather gets warmer, the number of recreational fires (also known as campfires) increase. Recreational fires are allowed in the City of Seattle if fire safety requirements are met and air quality conditions allow for outdoor burning. Before you start a campfire, read through the requirements on the Seattle Fire Department’s website for recreational fires and portable outdoor fireplaces. Check to see if an air quality burb ban is in effect by calling the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at 1-800-595-4341 or visiting their website.

Follow the below safety tips to reduce the chance of an unintentional fire or injury.

  • Ensure the recreational fire is not more than three feet in diameter and two feet in height. Make sure the fire is located at least 25 feet from any structure or combustible material.
  • Do not place patio fireplaces on a deck or balcony and within 10 feet of a structure or combustible material or vegetation. Use of patio fireplaces at single family homes and duplexes are exempt from this requirement.
  • Eliminate conditions which could cause a fire to spread prior to ignition. Look up and around – make sure the fire pit is not under any low hanging branches or near brush or bushes. Clear all debris from around the fire pit, including garbage and grass, and anything that can burn. Keep all flammable items far away from the fire.
  • Keep a three-foot child and pet safety zone around your fire pit.
  • Burn clean, dry wood. Do not burn garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, paper (other than what is necessary to start a fire), cardboard, treated wood, construction/demolition debris, metal or any substance (other than natural vegetation) that normal releases toxic emissions, dense smoke, or obnoxious odors when burned.
  • Have fire extinguishing equipment readily available for use. This should include a shovel and two buckets of water, or a charged garden hose or fire extinguisher with a 4-A rating.
  • Ensure the fire is continually attended by an adult until it is completely extinguished.
  • Do not conduct fires on public property where fires are prohibited, such as in a park or on school grounds. Beach fires are only allowed in designated fire pits at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard and Alki Park in West Seattle. Visit the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department website for more information on beach fire regulations and hours.