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Backyard Recreational Fires – Safety & Info

Fire pits are a great way to enjoy the campfire experience with family and friends right in your backyard. Gathering around an outdoor fire pit under a cool evening sky, sharing stories, toasting marshmallows, and enjoying each other’s company is a wonderful way to spend an evening.  To avoid any unpleasant surprises, here are Chimney Saver Solutions safety tips to keep your guests safe around the fire pit.

backyard fire pit, richmond vaChoose the Spot for Your Fire Pit Wisely

When choosing the perfect spot in your backyard for your fire pit, make sure the ground is level and is at least ten feet or more from your house, structures, trees, shrubs, and combustible objects. Building an outdoor fire or fire pit on a ground that is not level is dangerous. For example, it could indicate an underground root system from a nearby tree. A smoldering outdoor fire can ignite the roots and start a fire.

Don’t Build Outdoor Fires on Windy Days

While a fire pit is a great way to enjoy your backyard on those chilly days, be careful to avoid building an outdoor fire when it is windy. Low humidity, dry conditions, and wind are contributing factors to wildfires. In addition, windy weather could cause outdoor fires to spread to nearby trees, vegetation, and structures rapidly. Therefore, it is also vital to observe any outdoor burning restrictions or bans in your area. You should also check with your local, state, or Federal authorities for current wildfire conditions before building
an outdoor campfire.

Never Leave Children or Pets Unattended Around an Open Fire

Children and pets are naturally curious and should never be left unattended around a fireplace, fire pit, or open fire. If you are stepping away from your fire pit, take children and pets with you or have another adult supervise them until you return. Also, install a fire pit spark screen. It’s an inexpensive accessory that will help contain the sparks and hot embers, so they don’t burn those around the fire pit.

seasoned wood in fire pit, henrico vaBurn Seasoned Wood

When sourcing wood for your outdoor fire, only burn firewood that has been seasoned (dried) for six to twelve months. Seasoned wood produces hotter, longer-lasting fires with significantly less smoke and pollution than freshly cut or damp wood. In addition, you can quickly determine the moisture content with a moisture meter. Ideally, the moisture content should be 20 percent or less.

Don’t Use Lighter Fluid or a Fuel Accelerant

Just like you should never use lighter fluid or accelerants to start a fire in a fireplace, the same applies to outdoor fires and fire pits. An accelerant could cause a fire to be difficult to manage. Toxic fumes released by accelerants increase the risk of an explosion.

Extinguish an Outdoor Fire Safely

Be sure to extinguish your outdoor fire safely before retiring for the evening. The easiest way to safely extinguish a fire pit is to spray the fire with a garden hose until it is out entirely. If you don’t have a garden hose nearby, pour buckets of water on the fire until it is out. Then, stir the embers to ensure they are soaked with water.

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