Fire Pit Safety

If you own a fire pit, you should understand fire pit safety. A fire pit may be an enjoyable place to gather, but it is also an area of intense danger. Thousands of people are injured by fire every year, many of them because they did not follow simple fire safety procedures.

Fire Extinguisher

If you have a fire pit, go ahead and invest in a fire extinguisher to keep nearby. While a garden hose is suitable to put out most fire pits, an emergency situation will involve burning items outside the pit. Water alone isn't sufficient to deal with all types of fires. Pick up a chemical fire extinguisher, and always make sure that it is in good condition.

Indoor Use or Confined Spaces

A backyard fire pit is just that, intended for outdoor use, well away from any combustible items that could lead to the fire getting out of control. Never ignite a fire pit under a roof, especially in a room such as a garage.

A burning fire emits carbon monoxide along with other harmful gases, and breathing the fumes in a confined space could lead to severe respiratory problems or even death.

Avoid using a fire pit near plastics or rubber, or near a stack of old newspapers. Always keep a safe perimeter, as we will explain shortly.

Approved Fuels Only

A patio fire pit is designed to use a particular type of fuel. A wood-burning fire pit is probably able to burn charcoal as well, but charcoal is really nothing more than partially burned wood chips which have been compressed into squares. Never try to burn wood in a gas-burning fire pit, or vice versa.

Do not attempt to burn paper, plastic, or cloth in a fire pit. They materials can all cause severe fires that are difficult to put out and easy to spread.

A Safe Perimeter

Keep the area surrounding a fire pit clear. A good rule of thumb is to maintain an area as wide as you are tall. Keep that safety zone free of combustibles but also free of trip hazards which could cause someone to stumble into the fire pit.

If you allow small children inside this safe perimeter, it is vitally important to supervise them closely. The best safety precautions include keeping children well away from fires of all sorts, but it can be difficult to avoid exposing them to an outdoor fire pit, so be sure to use proper guidance.

Spark Screens

As wood burns, it releases tiny particles that lift onto the winds. These still contain enough heat to ignite a fire in some other location. Research has shown that a large number of accidental fires begin this way. To avoid this possibility, always cover the fire with a screen that prevents sparks from escaping.