Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services would like to share with you the criteria for cooking outdoors and recreational fires near multi-family dwellings to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer. “Multi-family” is any building that has three or more separate living units. This includes garden-style apartments, mid and high-rise apartments, and some condos.
All outdoor cooking or recreational fires must be constantly attended by a responsible person at least 18
years of age until the fire is extinguished. A garden hose or other extinguishing equipment has to be
nearby and readily available for use. Grills or recreational fires cannot be used to burn trash or other
combustible waste. If the fire department is contacted and determines your situation to be hazardous,
the fire department can require you to extinguish your fire.
Outdoor cooking includes any gas-fired, charcoal, or electric grill. All outdoor cooking must be done at
least 20 feet away from any building. It is not permitted on balconies, under overhanging portions of
buildings, or on roofs. Gas-fired, charcoal, and electric grills cannot be stored on balconies.
Recreational fires include campfires, fire bowls, chimineas, and fire pits. Please notify the Office of Fire
Code Compliance at 240-777-2457 prior to initiating a recreational fire. Permits from the Office of Fire
Code Compliance and the Department of Environmental Protection are required. Recreational fires
must be kept at least 25 feet away from any building. Fires are not permitted on Code Orange or Code
Red Air Quality days.
After the fire:
Dispose of all ashes in a safe manner. After 24 hours have passed, all left over hot ashes should be
thoroughly dampened, cooled and stored in a metal can that is solely used for ash storage. Do not
discard hot ashes in a compost pile, paper bag, cardboard box, or anything that is combustible. Be
careful handling partially burned wood that may still be smoldering as it can cause serious burns