SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the weather continues to warm up more and more people are starting to light up their fire pits.

Fire pits have become popular in recent years. But unless they are being used for cooking, they are subject to the MassDEP open burning regulation. If you do use a fire pit for cooking, the fire must be: 

  • Kept to a reasonable size
  • Located away from combustible materials
  • Contained in a non-flammable enclosure, and 
  • Tended by someone who is 18 years of age or older. 

Remember to burn only clean, dry firewood. This will minimize the amount of smoke leaving your property and affecting neighbors. You may not burn trash, refuse, or similar materials. 

Some cities and towns regulate, limit or prohibit the use of chimineas, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces. To find out if your community has specific requirements, contact your local fire department.

Lieutenant Anthony Spear from the West Springfield Fire Department says it’s important to always keep an eye on the fire and have a source of water nearby.

“As far as safety is concerned, the structure of the pit itself is something you want to pay attention to,” said West Springfield Fire Lt. Anthony Spear.

If you have plans to get your fire pit going or get a new one, Lt. Spear says you should make sure it is made out of heat resistant material, “You’re always going to want something made out of stone or something like a metal pit. Something like that contained, that’s another thing that will be helpful.”

The fire department says this will help to keep the fire from blowing outside of the pit but it’s also important to keep the fire pit at least 25 feet away from any items or surfaces that can easily catch fire and burn.

Lt. Spear told 22News the calls they receive regarding campfires are common and tend to ramp up as it gets warmer. He says more people will be using their fire pits as we head into Memorial Day weekend. However, while West Springfield allows its residents to have fire pits, some other towns may have different rules. It’s important to check with your city officials or your local fire department to make sure it’s okay to use your fire pit.

And when it comes to lighting your fire pit, Lt. Spear says you should not use any accelerants, “No gasoline, no lighter fluid, nothing like that. Use your regular combustible materials, old newspapers, things like that, twigs, kindling woods… things that will get the fire started safely.”

While we are no longer in a period of increased brush fire risk, Lt.. Spear says if you have dry vegetation keep it clear of the fire area.