A fire pit is a wonderful focal point for entertaining in the backyard. Relaxing around the fire pit is a favorite way to spend a summer evening. At the same time, this can be a dangerous activity if precautions are not taken. Use these tips for fire pit safety to prevent accidents this summer.

1. Choose the Right Location

Whether you are looking to build an in-ground fire pit or have a portable one, the location should be carefully planned. Make sure the ground is level. Find a spot where there are no structures or trees within 15 feet of the site. Local ordinances may require more distance, so be informed about laws and HOA regulations. Don’t install your fire pit beneath awnings, canopies, or overhanging branches.

2. Use the Right Fuel

If you are using a wood-burning fire pit, it is important to use the right type of wood. Look for hardwoods when possible because they are less likely to spark. Softwoods, like cedar or pine, are not ideal. Construction materials give off toxic fumes and shouldn’t be burned. Never burn trash, including newspapers or cardboard boxes. These materials can ignite and be carried off by a breeze, starting a fire elsewhere.

3. Plan Ahead for Fire Pit Safety

Plan ahead before building a fire. Check the wind conditions; if it is supposed to be particularly gusty, have the fire another night. Loose-fitting clothing can be dangerous around a fire because it can dangle into the flames. Have a strategy for keeping people and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire.

4. Be Prepared for Problems

No matter how well you plan for safety, it is better to be prepared for an emergency. Have the garden hose nearby so you can grab it quickly in an emergency. A bucket full of sand is also handy to have around. Alternatively, you could keep a fire extinguisher by the fire and be familiar with how to use it. Have some burn cream stored in your first-aid kit.

5. Fire Pit Safety Means Extinguishing the Flames

The best way to put out your fire depends on the design of the fire pit and the fuel you are using. Dealing with hot ashes is also a safety concern. After extinguishing your fire, allow the ashes to cool and collect them in a metal tin.

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