A fire pit adds to the functionality and appeal of your backyard. However, just like any appliance that uses fire, the fire pit can become a hazard without the proper precautions. How can you practice fire pit safety and enjoy the great outdoors without getting burned?
Fire Pit Safety: Pay Attention to the Weather
Before you head outside to build a fire, check the forecast and pay attention to the wind. On windy days, fire pit safety is more challenging. Wind makes it harder to light a fire, and it increases the risk of sparks being carried to brush or structures near the pit. If there’s anything more than a light breeze, it’s best not to build a fire.
Keep the Area Around the Pit Clear
When lighting a fire or choosing a spot for your fire pit, make sure it is away from buildings and other structures in your yard like sheds and play equipment. Don’t build a fire under an awning or trees with low-hanging branches. Before lighting the fire, clear out grass clippings, leaves, yard waste, and other debris from the area around the pit.
Choose the Best Wood for Fire Pit Safety
Just like you wouldn’t burn any wood in your indoor fireplace, pay attention to what type of wood you are burning in the fire pit. Don’t burn construction lumber or wood that has been treated with adhesives or resins because they will release toxic fumes.
Purchase seasoned hardwood or choose a softwood that you like and move the fire pit to an area far away from anything flammable. Softwoods generally burn with more sparks and smoke and less efficiency, so when using them, distance is key for fire pit safety.
Have Safety Equipment Nearby
Before you light a match, have a plan for extinguishing the fire. Even if you do a thorough job preparing the fire pit area, accidents can still happen.
Keep a bucket filled with water and a shovel on hand. If you experience an emergency, dump water on the fire and scoop dirt with the shovel to smother the remaining flames. A garden hose and a fire extinguisher are also helpful to have around in case the fire gets out of control.
Keep a Safe Distance
When you are reviewing fire pit safety with your family and friends, emphasize the need to remain at a safe distance from the flames. When cooking hot dogs or marshmallows, it’s tempting to lean in closely. However, this can lead to long hair, loose sleeves, and other flammable materials igniting. If you’re cooking over the open flame, tie back long hair and roll up your sleeves to stay safe.
Basic fire pit safety is easy, and it’s essential to keep everyone safe while they enjoy the flames.