Sitting around a fire pit in the company of friends and family is a fun, relaxing way to spend an evening together. But a fire pit can be dangerous for both people and property if you’re not careful. A little common sense and planning about fire pit safety will go a long way to prevent accidents and injuries.

1. Check the Weather

Before you even start your fire, figure out which direction the wind is blowing. Position the chairs so the smoke won’t be blowing directly on them. If it’s very windy, choose a different day altogether to build a fire. Strong winds can blow burning embers and sparks outside of the fire pit. If you have a portable fire pit, move it to an area that is sheltered from the wind and at least 10 feet away from any structures or trees.

2. Keep the Area Around the Fire Pit Clear

Keep the area around your fire free of unnecessary clutter. Other than a few chairs and safety items, the area around the fire pit should be kept clear. Don’t light the fire if there are things like yard waste, overhanging tree branches, dry grass or bushes, or anything else that’s flammable nearby. Clear everything away from your fire pit before you light your fire. Sparks and embers can float several feet away with only a light breeze.

3. Be Ready to Extinguish Flames

Before you even light your fire, have a hose or bucket of water and a shovel ready just in case things start to get out of control. If there is an emergency, extinguish the flames with water and cover the hot embers using the shovel. These items should always be within reach for fire pit safety. Even once the flame is out, the embers and ashes can remain hot for hours afterward and can easily reignite under the right conditions.

4. Never Leave The Fire Unattended

Fire can be very unpredictable, and a small fire in the fire pit could turn into a full-blown emergency. Reduce this risk and practice good fire pit safety by never leaving the fire unattended. A responsible adult should be watching the fire at all times.

When you’re ready to pack it up for the night, extinguish the flames. Next, douse the ashes and coals with water and make sure that no burning embers remain. Turn over any remaining logs to confirm that they have stopped burning and add more water as needed.

5. Only Burn Natural Wood

Only use natural hardwoods for your fire pit. Any type of treated wood, including construction lumber, contains chemicals, resins, and glues that produce toxic gases when burned. Burn hardwood that has been dried out for at least 6 months. Damp wood will not only be more difficult to light but will also give off a lot of smoke.

Fire Pit Safety Should Be Your First Priority

The above safety tips are easy to put into practice and will help ensure your family and property stay safe. You’ll be able to safely enjoy your outdoor fire pit knowing that you’ve taken all the proper precautions.

Aarrow Home Inspections provides home inspection services to the Triangle Area of North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.