Fire Pit Safety Tips

Nothing beats warm summer nights spent around the fire. These popular outdoor features create a comforting place to gather with family and friends while also adding a touch of style to your outdoor areas. However, fire pits pose a safety risk if not properly cared for. Some of the biggest concerns surrounding fire pit safety include clearance, fuel, how best to safely extinguish the flame, and the proper disposal of ash and wood. Check out how these safety tips might help!

Fire Pit Safety Tips:

Fire pit safety allows you to keep having those fun summer nights around the fire pit.

Clearance

Fire pits should sit on a level surface, no less than 10 feet from any structure. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that campfires must sit at least 25 feet away from any structure or anything that may burn. Certain locations may have clearance requirements that you must follow, so check your local codes.

Place outdoor fire pits in wide open spaces without an overhang, branches, or trees. Sparks from the fire may ignite nearby branches or structures. Avoid placing them near power lines as this may damage the lines and pose a safety risk.

Additionally, keep chairs a safe distance from the fire. Stray sparks may cause clothes or hair to catch fire. The NFPA recommends keeping children, pets, and combustible items such as blankets and outerwear at least three feet away from the fire. Many fire pits come equipped with a screen that you can use when burning a fire.

Fuel

When lighting the fire, avoid using gas, kerosene, or lighter fluid to light the fire. The NFPA recommends you carefully follow the manufacturer’s fuel usage instructions. Only use the fuel type recommended by the manufacturer for your particular unit.

Never burn construction lumber, like plywood, MDF, pressure-treated boards, or chemically treated wood. They’re often treated with chemical resins, adhesives, or other toxic substances. When burned, they release these chemicals into the air. Avoid using soft woods like cedar or pine, which smoke and spark.

Other things to avoid burning include:

  • Garbage
  • Unseasoned or wet wood
  • Yard waste
  • Construction materials
  • Plastics
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Driftwood

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, take care to choose the right wood for a safe burn. Hardwoods like ash, oak, or hickory provide a good wood to burn. They create a longer-lasting fire so you can enjoy spending time with family and guests without worrying about stoking the fire as often.

Extinguishing the flame

When it’s time to turn in for the night, make sure to put the fire out safely. About an hour before you plan to go inside, stop adding fuel to the fire and let it burn down on its own.

If you use a metal fire pit, you may want to avoid using water to douse the flames. The rapid cooling can warp or damage the metal over time and may cause it to rust. Try using dirt or sand instead!

Once the fire has died down, scoop dry dirt or sand onto the fire to extinguish the fire. Next, stir up the ash to make sure everything goes completely out. You can also use a snuffer. If the fire bowl remains closed, with no cutouts to allow for air flow, a snuffer cuts off the flames access to oxygen. This stops it from burning.

Stir the ash to make sure the embers have gone completely out. In case of emergencies, keep a fire extinguisher on hand.

Never leave the fire unattended

Fires can grow out of control very quickly. Never leave the fire unattended, even for just a quick trip to the restroom. Make sure the fire has gone completely out before turning in for the night. Glowing embers can still turn into a fire so make sure to turn each log over to ensure the entire log stopped burning.

When leaving, make sure to turn off or put out a portable fire pit or portable heater.

 

Enjoy backyard fire pits safely this summer when you follow fire pit safety. Looking for a new fire pit? Check out HomElectrical’s selection of gas and wood-burning fire pit options!

Avery Dietzen
Avery Dietzen

Originally from Wisconsin, Avery earned her degree in English before making the trip down to the Atlanta, GA area. Writer by day, reader by night, she prides herself on having a creative outlook and tries to instill that in everything she writes. As a content writer for HomElectrical, she uses her skills to share tips and tricks about lighting, HVAC, and going green. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, painting, hanging out with her dog, or spending time with family and friends.

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