Rock Talk

How to (safely) make the most of the weather

Last updated on November 15, 2019 at 02:18 pm

It may seem odd to be writing about fire pit safety in December, but with temperatures expected to linger in the mid-50s over the next week, there’s still time to take advantage of these milder nights. After all, if this winter is anything like 2015, soon enough there will be plenty of nights to stay indoors by your fireplace.

For those who haven’t yet retired the Adirondack chairs for the season, here are some helpful tips to ensure you’re safely making the most of these warmer evenings:

  • Your fire pit should be on a level stone, concrete, or brick surface and at least 10 feet away from anything flammable (e.g. your house, trees, shrubs, etc.)
  • Burn dry wood that’s no longer than three-quarters of the pit’s diameter – this will help prevent sparks from flying
  • Use the appropriate tools, like fireplace tongs and a poker, to maneuver the wood. Try not to “drop” the wood pieces as the impact could cause ashes to jump from the pit
  • Never use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosene to light the fire. To properly start the fire, use a piece of paper (plain newsprint) or a store-bought fire starter and cover one with a few small sticks/kindling. As the fire begins to burn, add more kindling until you have a small, sustained flame. From there, place the logs using tongs
  • There’s no need for a blazing bonfire in your backyard, so keep the flame at a controlled size
  • Always be prepared to put the fire out at a moment’s notice. Keep either a bucket of sand, a fire extinguisher or a hose close-by in the event you need to smother it quickly
  • When you are ready to call it a night, extinguish your fire by spreading the ashes around the pit with your fire poker and let them cool off. Then, pour some water over them and remember to monitor the pit for a few hours to ensure the fire is completely out

Both HGTV and This Old House are good resources if you’d like to learn more about fire pit safety.

Happy stoking!

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