More and more people are using outdoor fireplaces and chimenea than ever before. It is important to always remember than anytime you work with fire there is a chance of losing control of it or getting burned. If you are considering the purchase of one, always be aware of any regulations governing their use and any special considerations connected with a device with the potential for fire.
Under current Florida State Fire Code, the use of outdoor fireplaces and chimenea are legal for use in single family dwellings. Even though these devices are legal, there are certain restrictions that apply to their use. These restrictions include:
- Any situation where the smoke from one of these devices is objectionable or offensive to the community.
- Using one of these devices for the disposal of waste or trash.
- The use of one of these devices when it is left unattended for any period of time.
- The use of one of these devices in a manner that is contrary to its intended use or manufacture’s instructions.
In addition to code requirements, if you plan to use outdoor fireplaces & chimenea, you should be aware of the general fire safety precautions for these devices. These practices include:
- DO NOT use any of these outdoor devices inside your home.
- These units are not intended as a primary heating source.
- Locate the device at least fifteen (15) feet away from any structure.
- Maintaining three (3) feet of clearance from any combustible material or item.
- Do not use during a high wind condition.
- Using some type of non combustible surface underneath to catch sparks, dropping coals, embers or ashes, i.e. a metal drop pan.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, starter fluids or any other substance that may create a rapid build-up of fire.
- Properly dispose of the ashes once the fire is out. Allow them to cool for 48 hours before disposing, otherwise, douse with plenty of water and NEVER place them in plastic, paper, or wooden containers, only metal.
Keep in mind that this beautiful weather brings with it a lower humidity level and increased risk of brushfires. The National Weather Service in Miami predicts that, if the present trends hold, south Florida will experience below normal rainfall during the dry season, which extends from now into May. Be very careful when disposing of materials from these devices or items such as barbeque grills. Also take care when disposing of cigarettes as they can start brushfires when discarded carelessly from vehicles.