18 Must-Know Fire Pit Safety Tips
Is there a better way to end a perfect summer day than enjoying the welcoming flame of a fire pit? While fire pits create the perfect ambiance to share an evening with family and friends, it is always good to go over a few important fire pit safety tips prior to kicking off the season. It is easier than you think for your small, cozy flame to become an uncontrollable inferno.
The American Society of Landscape Architects rated backyard fire pits as the most popular outdoor design feature, and for a good reason! After all, who doesn't enjoy a crackling flame? While it may seem tempting to skip over these fire pit safety tips, and while some may appear obvious, the number of fire pits or outdoor heater-related injuries has almost tripled in recent years. The Consumer Products Safety Commission notes that emergency rooms saw at least 5,300 fire pit or outdoor heater-related injuries in 2017.
Let's help you enjoy a summer filled with family, friends, and fun while keeping your loved ones and valuables safe! Here are 18 must-know fire pit safety tips to keep the flame in the fire pit and the fun in the yard!
The proper placement of your fire pit is the foundation for a safe and fun evening! Follow these fire pit safety tips to set the ideal foundation for your flame.
1. You want to ensure the ground is level, as an even surface reduces the risk of the fire escaping the pit and spilling onto the ground.
2. Place the fire pit at least 10 - 20 feet away from anything you would not like to set on fire accidentally. Some examples include your house, prized shrub, fence, or newly finished shed. Remember to keep vertical space in mind too! You wouldn't want to place your fire pit under a low- overhanging branch or covered patio.
3. Do not place your fire pit on a flammable surface like grass or your wood deck. If the ideal option for your fire pit happens to be a fire-prone area, then surround your pit with non-combustible materials, like crushed stone, brick, or sand. You could also elevate your fire pit so it isn't even with the ground.
You now know how to go out and set up that bad boy in the ideal, safe spot for your summer adventures! So now that you know the best placement for your fire pit for optimal safety, let's talk about the best ways to get the flame going!
Get the Flame Going!
1. Always make sure there are no burn bans in your area before lighting your fire! High emissions and weather conditions can increase fine particulate pollution to an unhealthy level - AKA poor air quality. Help keep everyone's lungs healthy by checking if a no-burn advisory is in effect before lighting your kindling!
2. Before you get your fire pit going, it's also a good idea to check the local weather forecast. If it is unusually windy, it's best to skip the fire for the day. Not only can the wind make it very challenging to light the kindling, but it could blow sparks to surrounding brush, structures, or people, potentially starting a fire. Always see what direction the wind is blowing before you start your fire. Encourage your friends and family to sit upwind of the fire pit to keep away from the smoke.
3. A safe fire is a fire that has safe fuel! Always burn wood that's seasoned for at least six months. You want to avoid using construction materials, such as plywood or composite woods, which can release toxic fumes when burned. Several fantastic options for wood-burning fire pits are softwoods, like pine and birch. These woods produce more crackles and sparks than seasoned hardwoods, like oak or hickory.
4. Always cut logs so that their length is less than three-quarters the pit's diameter. This ensures that no pieces of wood are hanging over the edge where they can easily fall out.
5. You should never, ever use gasoline, lighter fluid, or kerosene to get your flame burning. These fuel starters can get out of control fast and create bigger flames than you bargained for! Instead, opt for a proper fire starter like matches or a kitchen lighter to coax a flame from your kindling.
Your fire pit is now in the ideal spot, and you know how to get the party started safely! Now how do you safely maintain your flame?
Keep it Burning!
1. Never, ever leave the flame unattended in your fire pit. This means burning coals too! You should also never leave your children or pets alone with a fire.
2. Use your fire pit screen! The spark screen prevents embers from flying up and hitting you, the people with you, or the yard! The screen also can help keep pets or children from accidentally falling into the flame.
3. Keep fire extinguishers, such as a garden hose or bucket of sand nearby, just in case you need to deal with escaping sparks from the fire. Attach a nozzle to the hose that has a "spray" setting. A shower-type spray douses a flare-up, while a powerful direct stream can spread sparks. Always keep fire gloves nearby to safely handle hot parts of the fire pit.
4. Resist disposing of paper, garbage, or other flammable products in your fire. Not only can these products throw off the burning embers, but many products contain toxic chemicals that are unhealthy to breathe in.
5. Do not put chairs too close to the fire. Position chairs around the fire so people can get up and move around without risking tripping and falling into the fire. If possible, built-in seating is an ideal option as it keeps people from sitting too close to the flames. If built-in chairs aren't feasible, heavier chairs also can do the trick.
6. Invest in a fire blanket just in case you need to extinguish sparks, the fire, or if need be, anyone who might catch fire.
7. "Hey, hold my beer!" Yeah, it is never a good idea to combine fire with alcohol. Alcohol is flammable, and heavy drinking impairs coordination, judgment, and reflexes. Always drink in moderation when monitoring your flame, and be alert and ready to douse any alcohol-induced mishaps.
Finally, your evening has been a safe success, and you are ready to retire for the night. Let's briefly talk about a few tips to safely say goodnight to your flame while saying goodbye to your guests!
How to Put Out a Fire Pit
1. Use a garden hose or bucket full of water to sprinkle over the flame. Do not dump or pour out the water too quickly, as this can damage your fire pit.
2. Continue to sprinkle water until the fire has turned to embers, then grab a shovel and mix the ash and embers until you don't hear any hissing.
3. Gently touch the ash to check if it is cold before disposing of your ash. Check out our article 21 Uses for Wood Ash for ideas!
Finally, having a high-quality fire pit ensures the flame stays where you want it to! Check out our wide selection of beautiful and quality fire pits here!
Fire pits are a fantastic way to unwind and enjoy time with the people you love! By following these 18 must-know fire pit safety tips, you can sit back and relax knowing you've taken steps to ensure a cozy, memorable evening!