Fire pits are a wonderful addition to any backyard because of their relative inexpensiveness, beauty, and ability to extend one’s yard use through the colder autumn and winter months. However, the keyword here is “fire” and any carelessness can wreak serious havoc on one's home, yard, and neighbors.
For those considering adding a fire pit, here are five tips to ensure safety.
Perhaps the most important factor is placing the fire pit at least ten feet (preferably 25 feet) away from any other structure or neighboring yard. Also, do not place a fire pit under any low-hanging tree branches or other covered areas like a porch, or atop a wooden or grass surface. Instead, non-flammable surfaces such as concrete are safer.
Remove all flammable materials from near the fire pit before its first use. Surrounding the pit with rocks or vegetation-free soil is another preventive measure to ensure that the fire does not spread. Finally, make sure the fire pit measures a minimum of two feet across and six inches deep to ensure adequate flame containment.
Before lighting any fire, check the wind direction and remove any downwind potentially flammable material. Also, never use lighter fluid, gasoline, or any other flammable fluids to light/relight a fire. Instead, experts recommend using a commercial fire starter stick. And, as would be expected, do not attempt to light any fires if the wind is too gusty.
When extinguishing a fire pit, use water to drown the flames and a shovel to stir the ashes. Dispose of ashes in a metal can specifically for ashes.
5. Other Safety Factors
As with any fire, never leave a fire pit unattended, or leave unattended children or pets nearby. A wire mesh cover is a great option to help prevent the spread of any stray embers and to keep others from falling into the pit. Keep fuel to a minimum by using only that fuel necessary to keep the fire burning gently. Similarly, do not burn soft woods like pine because they can emit dangerous sparks. And always wear non-flammable clothing while attending to a fire and have a hose and water container nearby for emergencies.
By following these expert tips, you can enjoy the beauty of fire pits without compromising your, your family's, and your property's safety.