In accordance with the International Fire Code 2006 edition (PDF), it has been determined that "Recreational Burn Permits" are not required for a typical backyard recreational fire as long as the following conditions are met.
The International Fire Code defines recreational fires as an outdoor fire, burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking warmth or similar purpose.
These types of fires are commonly seen in backyards for family gatherings, small get-togethers and the like. Recreational fires should use only seasoned wood as fuel, and shall have a footprint no greater than 3 feet. Garbage, construction products, etc. shall not be burned at any time, and all fires should be in a fire ring, pit or manufacturer container designed for this use.
The following conditions also apply to all recreational fires:
Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition
The fire division is authorized to order the extinguishment or extinguish fires that create or add to a hazardous or objectionable situation
Means to extinguish the fire shall be available for immediate utilization
Examples include but are not limited to a portable fire extinguisher and garden hose
Shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished
Shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible materials
Should be contained within a fire ring, fire pit or manufactured container designed for recreational fires