A growing number of people are installing backyard fire pits, but with great family get-togethers around the fire, comes great responsibility to follow all fire safety rules. Make sure your family and neighbors remain safe while you’re basking by the fire and roasting marshmallows.
Step 1. Choose a Safe Location
Before doing anything, check with your local municipal authorities to make sure it is legal to have an open fire in your neighborhood. When building a fire pit, you need to be absolutely sure you’re building it in an area of your property that is safe for you and your neighbors. Keep in mind how the wind can blow the smoke and sparks around, so don't put the fire pit too close to doors or windows. Leave room to walk around the pit and be sure it's not near plants, fences, buildings or structures that could be potential fire hazards. Generally, fire pits should be at least 10’ from nearby structures.
Closely supervise children and pets around your fire pit to prevent fire accidents.
Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks can blow onto surrounding leaves and grass and quickly spread.
Check weather reports for potential instances of high wind.
Always keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby to extinguish errant flames in case of emergency.
Step 2. Always Start the Fire Safely
Before starting a fire in your pit, collect all the necessary materials first. You’ll need tinder, which can be thin, dry material, such as newspaper or straw, kindling (thin sticks or twigs), and also firewood. Always use good firewood. Dry, seasoned wood burns better and more efficiently and reduces the amount of errant sparks that can potentially ignite something you don’t want to burn.
Don’t burn anything in your fire pit that isn’t wood-related, such as plastic or metal.
Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or any other flammable liquid to start your fire.
Place a layer of tinder in the center of the pit first. Then stack a layer of kindling over the tinder. Use a match or multipurpose lighter to ignite the tinder and wait for both the tinder and kindling to begin burning well before adding your firewood. Add your firewood carefully, slowly adding more as the fire grows.
Step 3. Douse the Fire Properly
When you’re ready to turn in and put out the fire, drown the flames with plenty of water from a bucket or hose and stir the ashes with a poker. Continue adding water and stirring until everything in the pit is cold to the touch. Don't discard ashes or embers in a trash can until the next day. Instead, collect them in a metal bucket designated for ashes only and leave it outside overnight. Douse with water again in the morning before discarding the ashes in a trash can.
Alright! Now you know how to use your fire pit safely. Enjoy!
Project Shopping List
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