Keep Your Summer Bonfire Safe

It’s the beginning of grilling season across the country, and for many that also means building a bonfire for friends and family to gather around on chilly nights.

But there are serious safety precautions to take note of and rules to abide by if you do plan on having a giant fire in your yard or in a public recreation area.

You may or may not be allowed to build a bonfire in your area, and specific regulations like what you can burn and where you can burn it can depend on where you live too. So, consult your city government Web site to ensure that you comply with the rules in your area.

Here are some of the basics you’ll need to know.


Certain towns that allow bonfires may have rules about where you can build them. For example, in Cottage Grove, Wisc. your bonfire can’t be any closer than 20 feet from any structure, fuel storage location or hay stack.

If you’re at a campground or any other recreation areas, bonfires can only be built in fire rings, stoves, grills or fireplaces provided for that purpose, according to


If you are allowed to build a bonfire in your area, there could be some materials that you’re not allowed to burn.

For instance, in Mishawaka, Ind., where residents are required to get a permit before building a bonfire, construction lumber and wooden pallets aren’t allowed to be burned, the city says.

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