Back Yard Fire Pit Safety Tips

Fire pits are a great thing to have to bring groups of family and friends together, keep warm outside during chilly months, and cook delicious treats like hot dogs and smores. Anyone who has a fire pit is sure to find that guests tend to gravitate towards its comfortable warmth and mesmerizing flames.
With the ability to make and tend a fire comes great responsibility. Among the things that should be considered for safety reasons when installing a fire pit are the type of fire pit wanted, materials to be used, and how it will be constructed. Once a fire pit is safely created, another set of rules should be minded regarding lighting a fire and safely burning the fire. By following the safety tips below, homeowners can enjoy the beauty of a fire all year long in their own back yard.

Types of Fire Pits

The type of fire pit chosen will depend on many factors. Things like how much room is available, where it will be placed, and the homeowner’s preferences will all be taken into consideration. The good news is, there are many different fire pits to choose from, so there is a type of fire pit to fit every home.

Metal

Metal fire pits can be as simple as a metal bowl in a stand. Most metal fire pits are not permanent structures, which means they can be moved around at the homeowners discretion. This option is great for those who don’t want to have to commit to a permanent fire pit or those who have a small back yard or patio.
Metal fire pits should always be fire rated for safety, which should be clearly marked on the box they are sold in. Metal objects, such as old, large tire rims or metal barrels, should never be used to create a fire pit. These items are not fire rated and could crack or explode when exposed to extreme heat.

Stone

Stone fire pits may be the most primitive of fire pits, but they are getting increasingly fancier. Gone are the days where a stone fire pit was just a few stepping stones arranged into a circle. Stone fire pits can be very beautiful and complex permanent structures in the back yard. This option can be as inexpensive or expensive as the homeowner would like.
The biggest issues to look out for when using a stone fire pit is that the stones are fire rated. Weak stones or those with many layers of sediment can explode and become projectiles when exposed to high temperatures. Also, rudimentary stone fire pits may not do a proper job of containing embers or burning wood, which can cause a fire to start outside of the pit.

Brick

Brick fireplaces are generally the most expensive, fanciest fire pits available. These usually stand a bit higher than a stone fire pit and they look stunning when added to a brick or concrete patio. These permanent structures can also be built in the middle of a yard, though they really shine when put on as an addition to a deck or patio.
There are very few bricks that can be used for building a brick fire pit. It is imperative that bricks be fire rated and tested. There are reports of people using pavers to create their fire pit only to have the entire thing explode, sending hot chunks of brick into the air. To avoid this, labels should be checked for fire rating standards and, when in doubt, it’s a great idea to ask a professional.

Placement

Brick fireplaces are generally the most expensive, fanciest fire pits available. These usually stand a bit higher than a stone fire pit and they look stunning when added to a brick or concrete patio. These permanent structures can also be built in the middle of a yard, though they really shine when put on as an addition to a deck or patio.
There are very few bricks that can be used for building a brick fire pit. It is imperative that bricks be fire rated and tested. There are reports of people using pavers to create their fire pit only to have the entire thing explode, sending hot chunks of brick into the air. To avoid this, labels should be checked for fire rating standards and, when in doubt, it’s a great idea to ask a professional.

Level Ground

Brick fireplaces are generally the most expensive, fanciest fire pits available. These usually stand a bit higher than a stone fire pit and they look stunning when added to a brick or concrete patio. These permanent structures can also be built in the middle of a yard, though they really shine when put on as an addition to a deck or patio.
There are very few bricks that can be used for building a brick fire pit. It is imperative that bricks be fire rated and tested. There are reports of people using pavers to create their fire pit only to have the entire thing explode, sending hot chunks of brick into the air. To avoid this, labels should be checked for fire rating standards and, when in doubt, it’s a great idea to ask a professional.

No Overhanging Trees or Structures

There should be no buildings or overhanging trees or structures, like awnings, closer than ten feet to where the fire pit will be. The further away from these things, the better. Floating embers can easily catch nearby plant life or buildings on fire, which could lead to an uncontrollable blaze.

Check Local Rules and Regulations

Each city and town have different rules surrounding fire pits. While some may allow certain kinds of pits, some towns and cities ban their use altogether. It is important to contact the correct authorities to ensure that fire pits are allowed and that there aren’t any other regulations that must be followed or permits that need to be obtained to have a fire pit.

Construction

The difference between having a gorgeous fire pit or having a useless hole in the ground comes down to the construction of the fire pit. There are certain guidelines that must be followed not only to make sure the fire pit is safe, but also to ensure that it is a functional feature in the back yard.

Leave Room for Air to Move

If air cannot flow freely around a fire, the fire will not be able to burn. Fires require air to stoke their blaze, so an airtight fire pit will be nonfunctional. Also, if air cannot move then the fire pit material will get too hot, which could cause an explosion.

Allow for Proper Drainage

When it rains, water naturally pools in the lowest places on the ground. To avoid having a fire pit turn into a breeding ground for mosquitoes, there will need to be either a drain inside the pit or the inside of the pit will need to be slanted so that the pit is still even but the water can run out.

Keep Area Clear of Tripping Hazards

While adding unique stone features around a fire pit may seem like a good idea, it is important to consider that people will need to be able to safely walk around it. Anything that could cause someone to fall into the fire pit should be removed.

Lighting a Fire

This is often the most dangerous aspect of having a fire pit, especially for those who do not have experience with lighting fires. By avoiding serious mistakes and taking all the safety precautions possible, homeowners can enjoy a warm fire in their back yard and avoid serious injury.

Do Not Use Unapproved Fire Starters

Using things like gasoline or oil to start a fire is extremely dangerous. Instead, approved fire starters, like wax coated paper, liquid igniters, and other products, can be safely used.

Use the Proper Wood

Wood should be dry, aged, and free of any chemicals. Burning treated wood is dangerous since chemical fumes will be inhaled while sitting around the fire.

Start Small

Trying to build a huge fire immediately is not a wise plan. Instead, it is important to start with a small fire out of kindling and build up to larger logs. This will not only help to create a successful fire but will also lessen the risk of the fire getting too big too fast.

Burning Safely

Once the fire is burning steadily, there is another set of precautions that must be taken. These precautions will help to not only protect the people enjoying the fire, but also the environment around the fire. By burning safely, the chance of personal injury or wildfires is reduced greatly.

Check the Weather

Fires should never be started when the ground is dry or if it is windy. If it hasn’t rained in a while, it is more likely that floating embers will catch nearby foliage on fire. Also, on windy days, embers are carried far from the original flame, posing a risk to everything in the vicinity.

Have Water or Sand Nearby

The biggest risk of personal injury from fire comes from accidentally falling into or brushing against the flames. The best way to avoid this is to keep chairs a safe distance from the fire pit and keep a close eye on children or those who do not understand the risks.

Safely Enjoy Warmth Through the Seasons

By choosing the right fire pit, the proper place for it, and constructing it safely, homeowners can enjoy a cozy fire just about any time they like. Also, by starting and burning their fire in the safest way, they can ensure that their experiences with their fire pit are some of the most exciting and memorable times they will have in their back yard. By installing a fire pit, the enjoyment homeowners, and their friends and family, will get out of their back yard will increase greatly. Since fire pits are so versatile, with an option for just about every family, there is no good excuse to not have one of these terrific features in the back yard.