Chimneys & Outdoor Fireplaces

The Tewksbury Fire Department allows the use of chimineas and outdoor fireplaces provided the following conditions are met:

  • The chiminea or outdoor fireplace is on a non-combustible surface at grade-level (i.e. not on a deck) and is not under any type of overhang, roof, or canopy
  • The fire and/or smoke does not pose a hazard to any property
  • The fire must be constantly attended by a competent person until the fire is extinguished
  • Fires should not be located within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material and any condition that could cause fire to spread within this area shall be eliminated prior to ignition
  • The hot chiminea or fireplace should always be considered a hazard to curious children. Hot embers routinely are sent into the air from these fireplaces.  A screen should be in place to prevent the embers from igniting nearby guests or combustibles. Never use flammable fluids to start your fire.
  • Only ordinary firewood is burned in the chiminea or outside fireplace; no construction debris, leaves, household trash, hazardous waste, or chemicals may be burned at any time
  • The smoke does not create a nuisance or health hazard in the neighborhood
  • A water supply or fire extinguisher capable of extinguishing the fire is within 75 feet of the chiminea or outdoor fireplace

If the Fire Department is called to your house for any type of outside fire, we reserve the right to order any fire to be extinguished at the fire officer's discretion.

On January 1, 2018, Massachusetts adopted NFPA 1 - 2015 Edition with Massachusetts Amendments.  The new Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code, 527 CMR 10.11.3, provides for permitted outdoor fires.  The Fire Department will not issue a permit for the recreational use of a chiminea or outdoor fireplace.

Open-air fires are generally regulated pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 48  Section.13 which states in pertinent part “No person shall set, maintain or increase a fire in the open-air…except by permission…granted by the Forest Warden or Chief of the Fire Department, or Fire Commissioner.“

Chapter 48 Section. 13 provides that the State Forest Warden may make rules and regulations relating to the granting and revocation of these permits. If a fire chief believes the outdoor fireplaces to be a condition likely to cause fire, they may issue appropriate orders pursuant to Chapter 148 Section.5 to remedy this dangerous condition, notwithstanding the permit requirements of Chapter 48 Section. 13.

The Fire Department will not issue a permit for the installation of a new outside furnace that burns any type of wood product or byproduct.  We are working with the Board of Health to establish guidelines for these types of furnaces.