Gathering around a warm, inviting fire is one of the great joys of the summer months. Before grabbing the marshmallows and roasting sticks, read up on fire pit safety to ensure your backyard fire is a safe one.
Before starting any fire, always check to see if any municipal or county burn restrictions are in place. Starting a fire during a fire ban is dangerous and can lead to hefty fines.
Always have a fire extinguisher handy, a garden hose or a container of water nearby before starting any fires. Keep a first aid kit nearby in case of accidental burns. Check the weather forecast first, noting wind direction and strength. Do not light a fire in windy conditions because stray sparks can cause a fire. Before lighting your kindling, clear away anything that could cause the fire to spread outside your fire pit, including dead leaves and other combustible materials.
Lighting Your Fire
The safest way to get a fire started is to crumple up some paper and surround it with small sticks. You can also buy fire starters, which forgoes the need for kindling. Continuously add larger sticks as your kindling begins to burn, followed by logs. Be careful not to overfill your fire pit with wood. You should be able to place a lid over the fire pit and extinguish the fire in case of an emergency. Use seasoned hardwood because it is less likely to pop and throw sparks than pine or cedar. Never use accelerants like gasoline, garden clippings or garbage since these will make your fires unmanageable.
Putting Out Your Fire
After use, make sure to fully extinguish the fire. Begin by spreading the ashes out as much as possible within the fire pit. Then, gently pour water over all of the ashes, soaking them with water. Use a shovel to stir the ashes around so that any hidden pockets are exposed to water. If the ashes are still giving off heat, add more water and continue to stir. Once cool, scoop the ashes into a metal bucket and leave them for a few days to make sure they have fully extinguished.
Having a fire pit is excellent to have as a backyard center point for gatherings with family and friends. Though popular, fire pits can be dangerous if not correctly used. Be sure to follow these safety techniques to make your fire pit evenings a safe and entertaining one.