Can You Use a Fire Pit in a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a perfect addition to any backyard. These freestanding structures allow you to bring your dining and/or entertainment outside in a controlled, safe (from the elements) environment. Having a gazebo – whether it be a closed structure or simply the open casing of a gazebo – is a great way to complete your backyard space. Bring the drinks and the food out to the gazebo and experience the great outdoors all day long.

But, what about fire pits? Having a fire pit, for recreation or design, is another amazing feature of any backyard space. They’re stunning, easy to maintain, and practical to use. So, why not combine two of the most impressive features of your outdoor space? Can you use a fire pit in a gazebo?

The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no, and completely depends on how your gazebo is set up. We’ll take a look at what needs to be done to say yes to a fire pit in your gazebo, and what constitutes a hard ‘no’ to the same question. If you’re going to use a fire pit in your gazebo then you’ll need to become well-versed in fire safety procedures.

Can You Use a Fire Pit in a Gazebo

Open-Air Gazebos

One case where a fire pit in a gazebo might be acceptable would be in an open-air structure. If the roof offers a sort of ventilation and/or the sides of the gazebo are open enough that chemicals and smoke do not build up, then your gazebo might be able to hold your fire pit.

Some gazebos feature a little opening on top that acts as a sort of chimney – this would be necessary if you want to light your fire pit, otherwise harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide could build up in your space, not to mention that your peaceful evening would be interrupted by coughing from breathing smoke and fumes.

It’s also important to ensure that the roof of the gazebo is far enough away from the fire pit that the flames cannot reach the rafters. This is especially important for wood or synthetic gazebos. If you have a shorter gazebo where tall flames might be a worry, then you might want to reconsider adding that fire pit to your gazebo. However, if your gazebo is tall and offers plenty of space and ventilation, then feel free to add a fire pit. As long as you’re careful and your gazebo has been inspected for fire safety, you should be safe to do so.

Solid Roof Gazebo

If you don’t have proper ventilation through the roof, or your gazebo is screened in in any way, then it is not smart to place your fire pit inside. If the flames or the chemicals that come from the fire will have a difficult time escaping the gazebo, then having a fire pit within the structure could become quite dangerous.

The less ventilation a gazebo offers, the easier it is for the smoke and fumes to build up and cause harm to the occupants (not to mention that it would not be enjoyable to breathe in smoke all evening).

There are some cases where a gazebo with a solid roof will still be acceptable for hosting a fire pit, but you should get your space inspected before getting a fire pit. If the gazebo is tall and open on the sides, then the fire pit could be okay. 

However, if you have a short, closed-off gazebo, then a fire pit is an absolute no-go. You shouldn’t run the risk of fire damage and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keeping Safe With Fire

If your gazebo matches all of the requirements necessary for a fire pit, then you should be good to move forward with the installation. However, it is still necessary to be aware of a few fire safety tips. When working with fire, or appliances like patio heaters, especially one under an enclosed structure, being aware of fire safety could end up saving your life and the gazebo structure. Here are a few tips with gazebo fire pits.

Flammable Materials

The safety of a fire pit also depends on the furniture and curtains that may be adorning your gazebo. For many, customizing and decorating your gazebo is just as necessary as decorating a room in your home. Chairs, benches, drapes, curtains, you name it.

These items are common inside a gazebo, but if they’re within a short distance of the fire pit, you could be running a dangerous risk.

If you’re going to add a fire pit to your gazebo, it’s important to make sure that no flammable materials can get caught by or blow into the fire. You may end up having to decide between the drapes and the fire pit. If your gazebo utilizes a canopy or awning, then having a fire pit is a no-go. No matter how high the canopy is, there is still a chance of a stray ember flying up and burning a hole in it.

Keep an Eye on Local Regulations

Every town, county, state, or municipality, has its own set of fire safety rules. What is all right in one county might not be okay in another. Some counties might have restrictions on fire pit sizes, whereas others may not.

There are also likely to be periods of time when a “no burn” rule comes into effect (especially if your area is having a very dry summer). It’s important to know the different rules on fire use that your local area has in place. Oftentimes, these rules are based on the environment around you. A drier area might have stricter rules than a humid zone.

Stay Away From Trees

This should be pretty self-explanatory, but might be one of the most important fire safety tips there is. If your gazebo is located in an area with dense trees or is surrounded by low hanging branches, then a fire pit isn’t the best choice. If your gazebo is located in an area where no trees run the risk of catching on fire, then a fire pit could be in the cards for you.

Always make note of your surroundings before deciding to install a fire pit in your gazebo.

Always Have an Emergency Plan

A nearby fire extinguisher is a must for a gazebo fire pit. Fire can be unpredictable, so having a plan to combat the unexpected should always be a necessity before installing your fire pit. Treat the fire pit like a fire drill and have an escape plan, a way to extinguish, and phone numbers to call should the fire spread beyond what you can control.

In Conclusion

A fire pit and a gazebo are both awesome ways to increase your enjoyment of your outdoor environment and expand your area for entertaining. However, they can not always be located in exactly the same place and safety when having fires is always the top concern (even more so than comfort). Make sure you follow these rules to prevent a potentially unsafe mix of gazebo and fire pit and always follow your local regulations regarding outside fire pits. Enjoy!