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Fire pits are legal, with some limits

Now that we are experiencing a respite from the triple-digit temperatures, I was wondering whether using a backyard fire pit (metal, enclosed, lid, etc.) is permitted in residential neighborhoods during fire season?

— Connie, Central Point

Yes, you can use a fire pit, Connie, but that doesn't automatically apply to everyone in the valley. You should also be aware if the fire gets out of control, you could be held liable for any damages.

We checked in with Myron Harvey, battalion chief with Fire District 3, who said backyard fire pits are allowed year round anywhere in District 3, which encompasses Eagle Point, White City, Sams Valley, Central Point and surrounding rural areas.

“Recreational fires are allowed year round as long as they remain under constant supervision and do not pose threat of unintended spread,” according to the fire district’s website.

Harvey offered an additional caveat: “If sparks go somewhere else other than your residential area, you’re responsible.”

Burn piles and barrel burns are not allowed this time of the year, however.

We checked in with Medford Fire-Rescue and discovered that in Medford you can have a freestanding fire pit, but fire officials urge caution during the summer months. A fire pit that is dug into the ground does require a permit.

Outdoor barbecues are allowed in Medford without a permit.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.