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953 Reon Drive
Virginia Beach
757-420-2222

2990 Churchland Blvd
Chesapeake
757-484-7711

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Virginia Beach
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4604 Pembroke Lakes Circle
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August 17, 2011

On a cool autumn evening, or perhaps during the summer backyard barbecue, a cozy sit in front of a fire pit makes for great conversation and comfort. Whether you have a fire shoppe built in your backyard or you use a portable bowl to burn wood, you have the ability to turn a simple yard into a place of relaxation and recreation. Because you will have an open flame close, however, you need to be aware of fire safety and any laws regarding owning a fire pit. Depending on where you live, the laws will vary.

Tips for Fire Pit Safety

The key to enjoying your evenings outdoors on your property is having your fire pit professionally installed. Planning is important in that the fire area must be situated on solid, level ground and in an area with no foot traffic. Your fire should not be placed anywhere near flammable objects or in a place where potential damage could happen. For example, the pit should not be installed near any gas lines or close to a pool, where people are likely to walk or run.

If you are setting up a permanent pit that is concrete or brick-based, arrange seating so that it is not too close to the flames. As you burn wood, there is the chance that sparks will fly from the fire and you do not want to get singed. Where possible, install your fire pit in an area with no tree cover - dry pine needles and leaves should be cleared away before you light a fire. If you have small children, keep them away from the fire as well.

Knowing the Law

Once you have decided to set up a fire shoppe on your property, before you do anything, you should consult with your area Fire Marshall. The Marshall will keep you informed of all fire laws in your city. More than likely, you will learn that having a small pit that maintains a low flame is okay to have in your yard, but many areas may enforce a law that says you can have a pit only if you intend to cook with it. This, of course, includes open pit barbecues. However, if you use your fire pit for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs you may be okay.

To be safe, consult with the Fire Marshall and a professional contractor who deals in backyard recreation facilities. Get all related information on size restrictions and other requirements, and soon you can enjoy those cool evenings by the fire with friends.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk outdoor firepits and Virginia Beach fireplaces.



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