"Understanding Your Home"   by  Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Patio fire pit. Patio fire bowl
- Open air burning of wood is considered to be a fire hazard and does pose a risk to nearby combustible materials such as homes, sheds, decks, landscape material, etc. Before purchasing your wood burning fire pit or fire bowl check with your local municipality if they are legal or if a permit is required.
- Wood burning units should not be used on very windy days.

Wood, natural gas or propane. The use of wood burning units is subject of adherence to local codes and permits. In most municipalities natural gas or propane fired pits and bowls are permitted.
- Always place the fire pit or fire bowl on a fireproof surface such as patio interlocking paving stones or, if it is placed in the yard, on a patio stone.
- Play it safe and have a fully charged fire extinguisher stored nearby.

Patio fire pit. Patio fire bowl

Fire Bowl

Patio Fire Pits and Fire Bowls
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Patio fire pit. Patio fire bowl
Fire pits are also known as fire bowls. In essence they are the same. The main difference is that as a rule fire pits are dug into the ground while a fire bowl sits on the surface. The common feature of fire pits and bowls is that they are designed to contain a fire and prevent it from spreading.
A patio fire pit is often designed as being part of the patio and as such becomes a permanent fixture. In contrast, portable bowls can be placed just about anywhere on the patio or yard.
Are fire pits and fire bowls legal?
Before you purchasing a fire pit or fire bowl check with your local municipality if they are legal or if a permit is required. The following has been copied from the City of Burlington Ontario website.
"Open air burning is not permitted in the urban area of Burlington (South of Dundas Street / HWY 407), open air burning permits will not be issued for this area. The use of fire pits that do not meet the regulations for outdoor wood stoves is considered open air burning. An open air burning permit is required. The City of Burlington also has the ability to charge a fine for cost recovery of Fire department responses to a residence where the activity has not been approved by the Fire Department"
Spark arrester or screen
If possible, choose a model that comes with a screen or spark arrester. Portable fire bowls or fire pits often come with a fire screen. The stainless steel fire pit shown in the picture has a 360 degree screen or spark arrester.

Portable stainless steel fire pit with 360 degree spark arrester, top vent and hinged door

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