Whether you already have a fire pit, are planning to build one yourself or just purchased a portable one, it’s important to review these tips so that you and your family can safely enjoy time around the fire.
1. Select the right spot for your fire pit.
Build your fire pit on level ground and out in the open, at least 10 to 20 feet away from anything that could catch on fire—such as plants, your home or other structures. Look above to make sure the fire pit won’t be under tree branches. Sparks fly, and you could end up with a larger fire than you were expecting.
2. Burn seasoned wood or hardwood only.
Never use construction materials, such as plywood, MDF, or wood pallets. Construction lumber is treated with chemicals and other substances that release toxic fumes when burned. You can burn softwoods, like pine and birch, but they burn less efficiently and give off more sparks and smoke than hardwoods. It’s best to stick with wood that’s been seasoned for at least six months or hardwoods like oak or hickory.
3. Review your local fire regulations.
You may need to obtain a burn permit or follow burning restrictions during wildfire season in your area.
4. Check the weather forecast.
It’s never a good idea to start a fire, even in a fire pit, on a windy day. The wind can blow sparks on top of nearby trees, shrubs or buildings (such as your house)—and those sparks could start a fire.
5. Keep a fire extinguisher, water hose or bucket of sand nearby.
Just in case the fire ever gets out of hand, which can happen without warning, always keep either a fire extinguisher, a water hose or a bucket of sand nearby so you can put it out quickly.
6. Make sure everyone’s sleeves are rolled up and hair is tied back.
When everyone is relaxing around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows or another yummy treat, it’s easy to inch too close to the flames. Fire is notorious for leaping onto shirtsleeves and hair that gets a little too close to the flames.
7. Extinguish the fire properly, and stay until ashes are cool.
When you’re done enjoying the fire, douse the flames with water, and then gently stir inside the fire pit with a shovel or other tool. Turn any logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning. Make sure you spread the ashes inside, which allows them to cool faster. Once the ashes are no longer producing heat, you can leave the site.
Following these fire pit safety tips can help you keep your home and family safe from burns and prevent a fire from getting out of control.
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