Our Summit County summers are short and most of us want to squeeze out every last drop before the snow starts falling again. With the temps taking a big dive as soon as the sun gets low in the sky, it can be a bit too frigid to enjoy a drink or meal in an outdoor living area. Fire pits and patio heaters are ideal to stay cozy while enjoying some more outdoor time. For you and your guests to be safe and in line with new county ordinances, we’ve put together some helpful information for fire pits and outdoor patio heating.
Fire Pits and Chimineas: You don’t have to be a pyromaniac to love sitting around a nice fire on a cool Summit County evening. Many mountain homes come equipped with outdoor fire pits ranging from manmade with a wood-burning ring of stones to gas burning commercial grade that operate with the flip of a switch. What you might not know is that as of 2020, all recreational fire pits in Summit County must have permits issued by the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District.
To pass permit inspection, all types of fire pits or chimineas must have screens to prevent flying embers. They must also be fueled by nontoxic sources such as wood or coal. Renters at vacation homes do not have to have their own permits as long as the home they are staying in has a valid permit. Both homeowners and renters will need to follow fire prevention measures that include but not limited to:
- The fire must be attended by a responsible adult.
- The fire must be extinguished and cool to touch before it is left unattended.
- Have a source to extinguish the fire immediately within reach.
Fires are discouraged during Red Flag Warnings and prohibited during Stage II fire restrictions. Notices about these warnings and change in status are on the Red, White & Blue Fire District website, the Smokey the Bear roadway signs, and in Summit Daily News.
Homeowners who rent their homes should be aware that vacationers will likely not be paying attention to or be aware of fire restrictions and red flag warnings. If Summit County is experiencing dry and/or warmer conditions, homeowners or property managers should take responsibility to know the current status and be vigilant about cautioning their guests when conditions are unsafe for use of the fire pit. Outdoor grills may even fall under the ban depending on the stage level.
Patio heaters: With the use of propane or electricity, patio heaters can heat a small outdoor area. This type of outdoor heat is safer around children and pets with no flying embers or sparks. A variety of styles are available including wall mounted, tabletop, and flame heaters with the tall mushroom-topped heaters being the most common. This type of heating can be temperature controlled and provides quick heat. Consideration must be given to provide ample space above and to the sides between the heater and combustible sources. Most need at least 24 inches of clearance, but infrared heaters require less space making them more convenient for tighter spaces. Fixed box heaters are designed to be installed in closer proximity to an existing roof or overhang that allows them to blend into the surrounding and quietly add to the ambiance.
It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing policies and regulations if Summit County is not your primary home. Your Breckenridge Associates agent stays on top of all issues related to real estate and can always be a source of information long after the purchase of your property. Please give us a call anytime you have a home-related question.