Washington TownshipMontgomery County, Ohio

Fire Regulations

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Gas & Charcoal Burners

Don't Let Your Barbecue Go Up in Smoke

Residential complexes suffer severe damage or loss every year from fires that begin when a grill is operated on a balcony. About 6,500 grill fires take place each year, resulting in almost $27 million in fire loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

For that reason, Ohio Fire Code prohibits operation of a charcoal burner, or any other open-flame cooking device, on combustible decks and balconies. The devices also can not be used within 10 feet of other combustible construction such as a wall, overhang, patio fence, railing, or the deck above your own deck or patio.

The restriction applies to multi-family structures larger than a duplex and does not prevent the use of cooking devices on the decks of single-family and two-family dwellings. Cooking devices using propane fuel are subject to the same regulations if the fuel container is larger than one-pound. The typical gas grill uses a liquid propane gas container with a capacity of about 20 pounds.

Recreational Fires

Be Careful Mixing Fun and Fire

Before starting a recreational fire, check with your neighbors and contact the fire department at 937-433-7644. If the fire is found to be unattended or irresponsible burning endangers the safety and welfare of the public, the fire must be extinguished.

No open burning is allowed during any air pollution warnings, advisories, or alerts or during burn bans.

Keep in mind that recreational fires may be offensive to others, particularly those with allergies and asthma. During summer and fall, the fire department gets 15 to 20 calls per week about recreational fires, most of them from neighbors with a complaint.

Avoid starting a fire during a strong wind or dry period and follow the Ohio Fire Code (2011 ed) which dictates that recreational fires must be:

  • No larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height
  • Supervised at all times by someone 18 years or older
  • Used only for cooking
  • Made with only clean, dry wood. (No trash or yard waste)
  • Located at least 25 feet from a structure or combustible material, including wood or vinyl fences
  • Contained within a pit, fire ring or commercial fire pit
  • Safeguarded with a means of extinguishing the fire, such as a fire extinguisher or garden hose

Use only fireplace matches or propane lighter to start the fire. It's recommended that a fire last no longer than three hours. Extinguish all hot coals when finished with a water hose or bucket of water and then leave the hot materials alone at least 24 hours. Do not bag or dispose of the ash or coals in a garbage container until you know they are thoroughly out. Contact the Division of Fire Safety if you have questions concerning open burning.

Please be careful with open burning within Centerville and Washington Township.