BOISE, Idaho — Backyard fire pits and bowls are popular in Boise throughout the summer, but with any type of fire, there are risks. To manage those risks, the City of Boise has a series of guidelines people should follow to keep themselves and their homes safe.

The City of Boise considers backyard fire pits and bowls "recreational fires" and does not require a permit for these types of burns.

"So usually what we consider a recreational fire is two by three, two feet tall and about three feet in diameter," said Romeo Gervais, with the Boise Fire Department, said.

Boise fire officials also recommend that all fire pits have a 15 to 25-foot buffer around it, so surrounding vegetation and structures don't catch fire.

"Keeping that away from your house, wood fence, grass, open space, things like that so that separation keeps it from igniting those other areas,"
Gervais said.

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The Boise Fire Department also recommends that people keep a hose or bucket of water nearby and that someone is watching and maintaining the fire at all times. They also suggest using a screen over a fire pit to help keep embers and sparks under control.

"What that does is it acts as a spark arrester, so when the fire is burning and the sparks come up, that metal mesh will kind of knock down the sparks to prevent them from going out and igniting," he said.

However, permits are required for wood-burning recreational fires for anyone that lives north of Hill Road or Warm Springs Avenue. Those areas overlap with places that have a fireworks ban, which includes the Boise Foothills, according to Gervais.

A permit is also required for any fires that exceed the two by three-foot parameters.

"When you think about a high school bonfire or something like that, we do require permits for those," Gervais said.

The same rules generally apply for Meridian and unincorporated areas of Ada County.

However, residents will need to look at Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality website on days where air quality is a concern before starting a fire.

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