While enjoying a cozy fire pit with friends and family is a great way to spend an evening, there are also risks involved. Being reckless with fire pits can result in people getting burned and your property catching fire. Practice proper fire pit safety to keep everyone safe around the open flame.
Choose a Safe Location for the Fire Pit
A fire pit needs to be at least twenty feet away from any building, including homes, sheds, dog houses, garages, trees, bushes, shrubs, fences, and property lines. Check with your town or city in case they have fire pit safety ordinances that require it to be further than twenty feet away from certain structures. There also may be fire bans in certain regions during the dry season. Keep seats around the fire pit at a safe distance so flyaway embers don’t burn people.
Keep Emergency Materials On Hand
Even if you are trying to practice fire pit safety, a fire can still become dangerous. In the event that your fire gets out of control, you’ll need a fire extinguisher, a garden hose, or a bucket of sand nearby at all times. Keep a first-aid kit on hand in case anyone gets burned.
Start Your Fire Safely
Use clean, dry, and small logs that have been seasoned for at least six months. Avoid using softwoods like cedar, pine, fir, and cypress since they will burn quickly and pop, shooting off clusters of embers. Don’t use any wood that has been treated for construction purposes because it releases toxic fumes when burned.
Don’t use accelerants, such as gasoline or lighter fluid to start the fire since this can result in a massive flare-up. Instead, gather dry kindling and a few small pieces of wood and place them slightly inside of a larger pile of wood. Paper, leaves, pine needles, small pieces of cardboard, pine cones, and even dryer lint make effective kindling.
Safely Enjoying the Fire
Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing or dangling jewelry that could melt or burn if it gets too close to the flame. Have a sober adult tending to the fire at all times. Use a fire pit poker to slowly and gently stir up the fire when it’s starting to die down. Keep pets several feet away from the fire pit.
Teach Your Children Fire Pit Safety
Educating your children on fire pit safety is important. Even if they won’t be building, starting, or maintaining a fire anytime soon, they’ll know how to safely behave around the fire and how to react in case anything goes wrong.
Fully Extinguish the Fire
The final step in practicing proper fire pit safety is fully extinguishing the fire. First, check if your fire pit can be doused with water when hot. Some fire pit materials, such as ceramic, will crack if they’re doused with water while still hot from the fire. If you can douse the pit with water while hot, spray the fire with a hose with the nozzle on the spray or mist setting. The jet setting may cause embers to burst from the fire. Soak the fire as much as possible. Make sure that there’s not a single glowing ember left in the pit, and wait until it has stopped smoking. If you can’t douse the fire with water, use a bucket of sand to smother the flames. Use a fire pit poker to maneuver the sand over the remaining embers.