How to Put Out A Fire Pit
Isn't there something magical about an outdoor fire pit? The flames dance, the fire crackles, and all the world seems to slow down a bit. Whether it's sharing stories or toasting marshmallows, a fire pit often means good times and good company.
But, as is often the case with fun things, there's a more serious side to consider. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about half (49%) of all reported fires are outside or unclassified types of fires1. Of these, a significant percentage includes brush, grass, or forest fires, all of which can be ignited by mismanaged fire pits.
Therefore, knowing how to safely extinguish a fire pit isn't just a handy skill, it's a necessary one. Along with that, understanding the risks and regulations of leaving a fire pit unattended or allowing it to burn overnight is equally important.
So, in this article, let's dive into the ins and outs of how to put out a fire pit. We'll talk about why it's crucial to put out your fire pit correctly and what could happen if you don't. Because, as much as we love our fire pits, we also love staying safe, right?
Preparation for Fire Extinguishing
Getting ready to extinguish your fire pit isn't something that starts when the flames begin to die down. Oh no, my friend, it starts much earlier than that.
Stop Fueling the Fire
The first rule of thumb is to stop fueling the fire at least an hour before you plan on extinguishing it. This gives your fire the time it needs to reduce to glowing embers or coals. This makes the whole extinguishing process much simpler and safer. Think of it like letting a pot of soup cool down a bit before you try to put it in the fridge - it just makes sense.
Spreading Out Hot Logs
Next up, get yourself a fire poker or a metal shovel2. Why? Because once you've stopped fueling the fire, these tools will help you spread out the remaining hot logs or coals. By spreading them out, you're allowing the fire to burn out quicker. Much like spreading out the butter over a slice of bread allows it to melt faster. In our scenario, instead of indulging in a tasty snack, we're indulging in a safer fire pit experience.
Safe Distancing and Correct Installation
And lastly, let's talk about safe distancing and correct installation. I can't stress enough how important these are. Your fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials. This gives you a safety buffer zone in case sparks fly.
As for the correct installation, make sure your fire pit is on a non-combustible surface, away from overhanging trees, and not enclosed (unless it's designed to be). A little time invested in setting things up right can save you a lot of headaches later.
To sum up, if you've got a plan and you follow these steps, extinguishing your fire pit will be as smooth as a well-rehearsed dance routine. So let's keep the flames under control and the fun times rolling, shall we?
Extinguishing Methods for Different Fire Pits
Let's move on to the nitty-gritty of putting out your fire pit. Not all fire pits are made the same, so it makes sense that different types need different extinguishing methods.
Natural Gas and Propane Fire Pits
Wood-burning Fire Pits
Wood-burning fire pits, on the other hand, are a bit more complex.
Selection of Firewood
First, your choice of firewood is crucial. Use seasoned (dry) wood that burns clean and hot. This helps to create a more controlled fire that's easier to extinguish.
Warning Against Using Construction or Composite Woods
And let's not forget about the wood you shouldn't use. Construction or composite woods may seem convenient, but they often contain chemicals that can cause dangerous, uncontrollable fires. Stick to the good stuff, and you'll have a safer, more manageable fire.
Letting Fire Die Out
One of the simplest methods to extinguish your fire pit is to let the fire die out on its own. Remember when we talked about stopping fueling the fire an hour before the planned extinguishing? This is where that comes in handy.
Another method is using water. Pour it gently onto the fire, making sure to soak all the embers and not just the ones on top. The goal is to leave no room for the fire to reignite.
Using Sand or Dirt
You can also use sand or dirt to extinguish your fire pit. Similar to using water, you'll want to cover all the embers, not just the top ones. But be careful not to bury hot coals where someone might step on them.
Using a Snuffer
A snuffer is a metal lid or container that can be placed over the fire pit to deprive it of oxygen. Once the fire is out, it can be left in place to prevent re-ignition.
Using a Fire Blanket
A fire blanket is another tool that can be used to suffocate the fire8. It's placed over the fire pit to cut off its oxygen supply.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
Lastly, you can use a fire extinguisher. However, this should be a last resort, used only if the fire is getting out of control. Also, make sure to use the right type of fire extinguisher for the type of fire you're dealing with.
Each of these methods has its own merits and challenges. The most important thing is to stay safe, stay alert, and don't rush the process.
Fire Pit Safety Tips
We've covered how to put out a fire pit, but how about some safety tips for when the fire is still burning? Here are some key pointers to keep in mind.
Maintain Distance from Home and Flammable Items
Whether you're using a gas fire pit or a wood-burning fire pit, it's important to maintain a safe distance from your home and other flammable items. Ideally, your fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials1. This ensures that if sparks fly, they're less likely to cause anything else to catch fire.
Use a Spark Screen, Fire Gloves, and Other Protective Equipment
While enjoying a cool evening around the fire pit, remember to use a spark screen. This helps to contain any stray sparks that might otherwise spread and cause a fire. Similarly, fire gloves are essential when adding more wood to the fire or adjusting logs.
For a metal fire pit, it's not just about the heat and flames. Any metal parts can get scorchingly hot, too. That's why I also recommend having a set of fire pit tools, like tongs and a poker, to safely handle the wood burn fire.
Have a Fully Charged Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Kit on Hand
No one plans for things to go wrong, but it's always best to be prepared. This means having a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby when you're using your fire pit. Don't forget a first aid kit, too. It's better to have it and not need it than the other way around.
Handle Fire with Proper Equipment
Remember, handling a fire should always be done with the proper equipment. Even if it's just a small backyard fire, never underestimate its potential. Safety should always be the top priority.
Evacuate and Call for Help if the Fire Gets Out of Control
Lastly, if the fire gets out of control, don't try to be a hero. Evacuate the area and call for professional help. Remember, properties can be replaced, but lives can't.
Remembering these safety tips can help ensure that your fire pit experience is enjoyable, safe, and leaves you with nothing but good memories.
After Fire Extinguishing
Putting out a fire pit isn't the end of the story, my friend. There are a few more things you need to do once the flames have died down.
Thorough Check of the Fire Pit and Surrounding Area for Stray Embers
Once you've managed to extinguish the fire, give your fire pit and the surrounding area a thorough check for stray embers1. Even a tiny spark can cause a fire to reignite, especially on a dry night. So make sure there are no glowing embers left before you call it a night.
Cleaning up Cooled Ashes to Avoid Rusting
After your fire pit has cooled, don't forget to clean it out. Remaining embers and ashes, especially in a metal fire pit, can cause rusting and reduce the lifespan of your fire pit2. To clean it, simply shovel out the ash and dispose of it properly. A tip? You can add the ashes to your compost pile or use it in your garden as a natural fertilizer.
Cooling Down Period for Fire Pits
And finally, allow your fire pit to cool down completely before covering or storing it. This is especially important for metal fire pits, as rapid temperature changes can cause the metal to warp.
And there you have it! Following these steps will not only ensure your safety but also help maintain your fire pit's condition for years to come. Remember, being mindful of the process from the beginning until the very end will allow you to enjoy those backyard fire pit nights even more.
So, next time you're burning a wood fire in your outdoor fire pit or enjoying the ease of a gas fire pit, remember these tips. Be safe, be responsible, and here's to many more enjoyable nights around the fire pit!
Importance of Home Insurance Policy for Fire Damage
Now, let's talk about another important aspect of owning a fire pit that often gets overlooked - insurance. Yes, while fire pits bring warmth and cheer to our backyards, it's crucial to be aware of and prepared for the potential risks they carry.
Home insurance policies generally cover fire damage, helping pay for repairs or replacement of your property. But it's crucial to understand the specifics of your policy. Is damage from outdoor fires covered? What about incidents caused by a fire pit burning overnight? The answers can vary, so it's important to read the fine print and confirm with your provider.
If you do own a fire pit, it's recommended to inform your insurance company. This proactive step can help avoid potential hiccups if a claim needs to be made later.
Additionally, a comprehensive home insurance policy can offer liability coverage. This means if someone gets injured around your fire pit, your policy could help handle their medical expenses and any potential legal costs.
So, as we relish the warmth of our fire pits, let's also embrace the peace of mind that a robust home insurance policy provides. It's one more way we can responsibly enjoy our backyard fires, knowing we're prepared for the 'what ifs'.
As we conclude, it's crucial to remember the importance of safety when enjoying our fire pits, regardless if they're gas or wood-burning. We've discussed how to put out a fire pit properly and why each step, from preparation to extinguishing and cleanup, matters.
Let's not forget the significance of home insurance in protecting against fire-related damages. Owning a fire pit is a wonderful way to gather loved ones and create lasting memories, but we must always prioritize safety and responsibility.
So here's to more safe and memorable nights around the fire pit. Stay safe, stay prepared, and continue to enjoy those cherished fire pit moments. Until next time, happy fire pitting!