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Burn pile to wood store: safe distance

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Joful, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    With someone developing the lot behind my own, where I've been burning brush and yard waste many times per year, I need to find a location for a new burn pile. Most if the year, I have very little concern for accidentally setting the surroundings ablaze, but things do get mighty dry in the latter part of the summer.

    The location that makes the most sense, with respect to mowing and the cosmetics of our yard, is just up-wind of my wood lot. Knowing I've had some fires which spew quite a bit of burning matter skyward, I'm a little concerned about putting the burn pit upwind of 18 cords of CSS'd firewood.

    Another possible location is even closer, but at least not directly upwind of the wood lot.

    Any recommendations on safe distance from wood lot to fire pile, with respect to being both upwind, and crosswind?

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  2. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking of installing windmills and did research on elevation, wind currents for my geographical location. For some reason Im picturing a lot of trees where you are. You could look up general wind directions but landscape factors come into play. Buildings..trees.. thats too bad you lost the extra buffer.
    I pick spots in the open, within garden hose reach(not that a house well pump will put out a forest fire) and out of sight of passing joggers and motorists. A spot I can mow around and keep the vegetation short.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I have many trees in my lawn (but no real woods), surrounded by hedgerows. The lot behind me is mostly wooded, but also mostly wetlands. In general, a brush fire is not a big concern, but an errant ember landing in my wood lot, where noodles and chips can be ankle deep, may be an issue.
  4. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My burn barrel is maybe 25-30ft from a couple stacks of wood, and about same distance from a shed and duck coop. Nothing has burned down yet.
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I've always figured 15 to 20 feet was good for my fire pit fires.
    I don't build bonfires there , but enough distance where I can sit on a chair between the wood & the fire ;)
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Geez... I was contemplating if 100 feet was too close! I have had some pretty "lively" fires, like when burning a pickup truck load (or three) of pine boughs at a time. I try to keep my burn piles under 10 feet diameter x 6 feet high, but sometimes they get bigger than that.
  7. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Bonfires !
    Have had some the the 100 ft rule is a good one, maybe more.

    Never make them in the "high fire danger" conditions or windy days though.
    Usually snow on the ground or a rainy day ;)
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I try... but I have bad luck trying to start yard waste fires with green wood on rainy days.
  9. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    I'd say you would have to take a photo of these 18 cords and its surroundings so we could make a data driven decision.
    Seanm likes this.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Best time for burning is in the spring when lots of new green shows up. But beware of wind for sure as those old leaves can be pretty dry and a fire started really easy in them.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    A lot depends on the time of year (as Backwoods mentioned . . . burning when things have greened up . . . or in the winter is generally safer), weather conditions (wind, rain -- or when it last rained) and location . . . not to mention the size of the pile. My burn piles tend to be quite large . . . not like Billy-large . . . but large. For this reason I tend to wait until later in the spring or winter . . . and/or do it on a wet or damp day.
  12. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    To be safe build smaller fires, it might take longer overall but there is no way I would risk all that cordage.
    ansehnlich1 and Joful like this.
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Heh... the 18 cords isn't there, yet! Was 12 cords last fall, now down to 6 CSS'd. Got another 2 in the driveway as rounds, and another 7 waiting to be hauled home from a friend's. will try to grab a photo later.
    milleo likes this.
  14. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Burn at dusk, pressure drops,very very little wind
  15. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    How much brush exactly?

    I usually just dump it in a pile near the barrel and burn it over the course of a couple days vs having a big bonfire. Burn barrel much safer than an open fire.
  16. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Tough to say. Over the last year, being new to this property, I've done a TON of pruning, trimming, cutting, etc. I even burned up at least 1.5 cords of old rotted punky wood, left rotting on the ground by the previous owner. I burned a patio furniture set that someone left behind, piles of old pressure-treated lumber left from old gardens and wood racks, several truckloads of tree trimmings, several giant piles of downed branches from hurricane Sandy, etc. Hopefully all of that will slow down, now that I'm getting the initial move-in items under control, and we have two 100-year storms (in two consecutive years!) behind us.

    Photo I had promised yesterday, showing location of my wood storage, and proposed new burn pile location. Also showing location of new drive, and new house (to be built soon), lest anyone suggest the obvious solution of placing the burn pile in the far rear corner of my lot. There are actually several other locations that could work, but none are as well hidden from neighbors and the street, and I hate making anyone else look at my mess.

    birdseye_east_burnpile.jpg
  17. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Joful, I would hate to take a setting like that and use part of it to make a burn pile. I have a similar setting. So, I made a nice burn pit with creek rocks. Looks good and keeps the fire from spreading.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I had failed to mention that, but there's an existing burn pit, surrounded by large rocks, which came from the barn that once stood on this property. Unfortunately, the previous owner put that in the middle of a bunch of trees, with the intent his kids could roast marshmallows and stuff there, and I don't want to burn anything that will generate any real heat right under a group of healthy trees. I intend to reuse those rocks for this new burn pit, also with the intent the kids could use it for a camp fire on the occasional summer evening, when I'm not using it for burning yard trimmings.
  19. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I have the space to burn pretty big piles of brush but still use this method. I don't like to throw everything on a BIG PILE anymore, I'd rather start a fire, and throw stuff on as I please, controlling the size/intensity of the burn.....takes a little longer but it's much more controllable :cool:

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