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Environment & Energy

County Wants Safe, Environmentally Friendly Recreational Fires

As the temperatures begin to drop, residents of Allegheny County start to take advantage of their outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and chimineas.

County Health Department Spokesman Guillermo Cole said that's a great idea, but people should know the restrictions.

"Our [county] regulations generally allow the use of such outdoor burning units because it's considered recreational burning, but we do have some requirements that do apply to their use," Cole said. "For example, you should only use dry, clean wood in wood burners and not use any garbage or debris."

In addition, Cole said some local municipalities may have more strict ordinances than the county, and anyone planning to burn should know the law in the community where they are burning.

"The fire has to be tended at all times. In fact, we always urge people to check with their municipality to see whether there are any local ordinances at the local level — at the borough or township level — that may either prohibit or regulate the use of these outdoor wood burners in their particular community," Cole said.

If you have questions about local restrictions or an issue with a neighbor regarding smoke or fire close to your property, Cole suggests contacting the health department at 412-687-2243.