They’re lovely to look at and provide warmth in the evening chill, yet fire pits can be more dangerous than many of us realize. Let’s start with the obvious. Never place your fire pit closer than 10 feet from your home and overhanging trees, and even farther away if possible. Avoid the temptation to use your fire pit if there is a breeze strong enough to blow burning embers. Be selective with your firewood; pinion wood, alder, cedar, oak, mesquite, pecan and hickory are all good burning woods. Fruit woods such as apple and cherry burn well, too. But avoid burning pressure-treated woods in a fire pit, chiminea, or any outdoor or indoor fireplace, because these woods often contain harmful toxins.
Keeping family and friends safe doesn’t stop there, though. There are certain items you should have nearby in case a flare-up should occur.
Garden hose with the nozzle set to “spray”
This can douse the flames without spreading sparks, as a direct stream of water might do. But be sure you’re already familiar with the specific instructions for your type of fire pit. Water can crack ceramic fire pits as well as some metal ones.
Bucket of sand
If your fire pit can’t get wet, or if you’re not sure, keep a bucket of sand nearby to dump on the flames.
Dry-chemical fire extinguisher
The extinguisher should have a Class B and C or multipurpose rating, such as one you would have in your kitchen. Make sure you know in advance how to use it, keeping in mind that the effective range is typically 6 to 10 feet and the spray lasts for 8 to 10 seconds.
Make safety a priority and you’ll get maximum enjoyment from your fire pit this season!