Gathering around an outdoor fire pit in nice weather is one of the best parts of the evening. Fire pit safety should be a top priority for every homeowner who has one. The following are a few tips to keep you, your family, your property, and your neighbors safe the next time you use your fire pit.
Check the Weather for Fire Pit Safety
Building a fire in heavy winds is not a good idea. Wind stokes the flames and can make the fire burn out of control. Embers may blow away and set another area of the yard on fire. Check the weather before having a fire and wait for a less windy night if gusts are in the forecast.
Don’t Use Flammable Fluids to Start a Fire
Starting a fire in your fire pit can be challenging, but don’t be tempted to use flammable liquids like lighter fluid and gasoline. These liquids are highly combustive and can cause the flame to explode outward. The best way to start a fire is by using dry tinder and then adding larger pieces of wood.
Have Fire Extinguishing Material Handy
Fire pit safety means being prepared for an emergency. While your fire pit might seem safely enclosed in bricks, it can still easily get out of control.
This is why you should always have a source of water ready (bucket or hose) to drown the fire and a shovel to smother any remaining burning embers. A bucket of sand or a fire extinguisher works well also. Don’t wait until the fire gets out of control to gather these supplies.
Never Burn Construction Material
Natural woods are perfectly safe to burn, although hardwoods are best. Stay away from common construction material like pressure-treated boards, plywood, and chemically treated wood pallets.
All of these are treated with various chemicals that will release toxic fumes when burned. Inhaling this smoke or roasting your marshmallows in such a fire can put your health at risk.
Check Your Local Fire Codes for Fire Pit Safety Rules
Every municipality has different fire codes to promote fire pit safety. The codes will usually include things like the minimum size of your fire pit, where it can be located, and even the materials you burn.
Some municipalities can restrict when you use your fire pit to preserve air quality. Knowing these codes is your responsibility. Failure to follow them can result in fines and/or a visit from the fire department.
Never Leave the Fire Unattended
Fire is unpredictable and can get out of control very quickly. As long as your fire pit is burning, a responsible adult should be attending to the fire with fire extinguishing supplies nearby.
This also means that when you’re done with the fire pit, you must properly extinguish it. The easiest way to do this is to wait for it to burn out and then throw some dirt on the burning embers. You’ll know the fire is completely out when there’s no more smoke coming from the pit.