Published on August 16, 2021
Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are an increasingly popular design feature. The flames add ambiance to a cool evening and can extend back yard use through fall and winter. An open fire of any kind requires attention to safety. Be sure to follow these guidelines to keep your fire-friendly and safe.
Locate or install your pit on a level surface made of stone, concrete, or brick that's at least 10 feet away from your house, trees, fence, overhead wires, or anything combustible.
Always burn clean, dry, unpainted, and untreated wood that was cut at least six months earlier. To prevent sparks from flying, use a spark arrester if available and make sure logs are no longer than three-quarters of the pit's diameter.
Avoid windy conditions that can blow embers. Start a small fire and slowly build until you’re able to add a log or two. Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or kerosene to light a fire. Open fires should be supervised by a person 18 years of age or older and must always be kept under control.
The best way to extinguish a fire is to spread the ashes out and let them cool down for a bit. Then take a container of water and gently pour it over the ashes and monitor the pit as flare-ups can happen. Keep a bucket of sand or a garden hose nearby in case things get too hot to handle. If a fire escapes the fire pit, call 911 immediately.
Before purchasing or installing a fire pit, fire bowl, chiminea, fireplace, or other outdoor receptacles, check with your community for by-law requirements for approved use.
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