When I was very young I lived on a private road in New York.

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What made this exceedingly more interesting is most of the parcels of land on that road were owned by my family. It was an exciting way to grow up, just running wild with your cousins from property-to-property. This privacy and comfort lent itself to a ton of freedom.

We did a lot of things with cars, bikes, motorcycles and other items that just would not fly anywhere else. I wonder about that sometimes, although we were on our own property and it was a private road, was it legal?

I guess it doesn't matter anymore, the statute of limitations has come-and-gone with most of my hyjinx. I live in Connecticut now and I was wondering about this again. Let's say I had a big, private spread, could I have controlled fire? Would it be illegal to have a big campfire or bonfire?

close-up of flames from a fire rising

The curiosity got the best of me and I went in search of answers, here is what I found. According to CT DEEP (Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection:

"The burning of wood in a campfire, bonfire, chiminea or other similar devices is prohibited if the burning is conducted so that it creates a nuisance for neighbors or it is in violation of any restrictions imposed on such burning by your local municipality. Campfires and/or bonfires are not defined by state statute or regulation; however, some towns have special requirements to conduct this type of burning and may require the homeowner to obtain a permit prior to having a campfire on his or her property."

They add:

"Special requirements may include: limiting the size of such fires; setback distances from structures and/or property lines; lot size; and requiring campfires and/or bonfires to be permitted. Please check with your local Open Burning Official, Fire Marshal or town hall for any restrictions or requirements."

VERDICT: It depends what town you live in so be sure to check. There also seems to be some common sense involved here. If you have a chiminea you bought at Home Depot that is probably cool. If you have a 13 foot bonfire loaded with combustibles, that is probably not cool.

Just a couple of takeaways:

  • Whenever the State, any state leaves a matter up to a municipality, those towns typically lean towards conservative regulations.
  • The more vague a law or regulation is, the more chance you have of getting in trouble. They make the language vague so local leaders (usually dip----) can tell you how to live your life, on your own property.
  • The "state guideline" you just read leaves room for interpretation by local officials.

They could've just said no.

On the flipside we have these kinds of rules because there are some real dumbasses out there who ruin a good time for everyone. No one wants a hideous, raging inferno burning down the whole town because some yokel got drunk and started a fire. That I can understand, some guys just can't handle Vegas.

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