Fire pits can be the perfect outdoor addition if you live in a climate where you want to enjoy the temperate summer nights, but it doesn’t stay quite hot enough after sundown to be outdoors without some sort of heat. Fire pits also enhance the aesthetic of a porch, deck or patio and are a low-energy way to provide guests with some warmth. Due to their very nature, however, fire pits do pose a few hazards to be aware of.
Never fear! You can still enjoy those cool summer nights with this fire pit safety guide.
1. Give Your Fire Pit Some Space
Position your fire pit 25 feet away from anything else on your patio. This includes chairs, the barbecue, your outdoor speakers or anything you may keep out there. Remember that a small gust of wind can carry what was a mild flame pretty far, and it could cause a nearby shrub or some wicker furniture to catch on fire.
When you and your guests sit around the fire pit, you should also keep at least five feet of distance from it. Do not hunch over or put your hands over the fire pit because, again, you never know when the wind might increase the flame’s size.
2. Do Not Put It on the Grass
Your fire pit should sit on a nonflammable surface, such as cement or concrete. Do not put it over woodchips, grass, or even dirt if avoidable. Remember that burning embers can fly off of the fire pit and onto the ground. If they land on anything flammable, you could quickly have a fire on your hands.
3. Beware of Anything Above the Fire Pit
Don’t place your fire pit underneath hanging twinkle lights, vines, low-sitting branches, an awning or a patio cover. If someone throws something into the fire pit, the flames can climb high, rapidly, and catch onto anything above them. You should also avoid wearing loose clothing when you light the fire pit, since they may blow in the wind and catch a flame.
4. Make Sure Your Pit is Deep
Your fire pit should be at least six inches deep and two-feet wide. This will keep the embers from flying out of the pit and onto any objects or humans. You should also ask that your guests not place beverages, food or anything else on the edge of the fire pit.
5. Light It with the Right Tools
Do not use lighter fluid or gasoline to ignite a fire pit. Ask your local hardware store for a commercial fire kit that is safe for use with fire pits. Never throw anything, like newspapers or sticks, into the fire to keep it going.
6. Supervise Kids and Pets
If you live with children or pets, do not allow them near the fire pit when it is active. It’s a good idea to have somebody supervise your fire pit at all times so that a curious child doesn’t walk up to it when nobody is watching. Covering your pit with wire mesh could prevent tragic injuries and accidents.
7. Be Prepared
You should always have a large, full bucket of water and an active hose near the fire pit any time it is in use. Don’t hesitate to use these the moment an ember flies off the pit and catches onto something.
Fire pits can make your patio a popular social hangout, but they’re a big responsibility, too. Take the proper precautions, so your evening get-together doesn’t result in a visit from the fire department.