Some residents in Fort Collins will have more limited use of firepits this year due to new restrictions laid out by the city council according to Colorado-based Firepit Outfitter.

Back in early March, the Fort Collins City Council unanimously voted to enact a 10:00 PM curfew for fires and a firepit setback limit of 25 feet from nearby properties. The measure was a response to complaints of smoke making its way across property lines and into neighboring homes via windows and screen doors.

With the new 25-foot setback rule, 57% of single-family households in Fort Collins would be barred from using firepits at all. Unsatisfied with this statistic, the city council reduced the final requirement to 15-feet, only affecting 22% of single-family households in the city. The 10 PM curfew is upheld, however it doesn’t apply to cooking appliances such as a smoker or grill.

The new program will continue education efforts throughout April and May and is scheduled to begin enforcement in July. Primary efforts will focus on education and voluntary compliance, however repeat and serious offenders may receive warnings or citations.

Enforcement of the ordinance will be based on complaints from neighbors, and will most likely be handled by Fort Collins Environmental Services. Residents who are courteous and engage in best practices for firepit burning are less likely to receive citations. Those who do receive a citation will be given educational information and a chance to correct their behavior.

Council members describe the new ordinance as a balancing act between public health issues and property rights. Population growth also contributes to the issue, as more properties means more firepits and potentially more problems as a result.

While the setback to 15 feet may be good news for most Fort Collins residents looking to utilize a firepit, city plans for an incentive program to deter residents from wood burning altogether are being prepared for the 2020 budget. It would appear that irresponsible practices and a growing city population may spell the end of residential firepits in Fort Collins.

Firepits are a great addition to any outdoor deck, patio, or yard space, but it’s imperative that they be used properly and with caution and consideration for others. Always make sure that the location and duration of the fire is in compliance with city code, and never forget to completely extinguish any flames before leaving the site of the fire.