Regardless of what time of year it is, or the season, one of my favorite activities is to start a fire pit in my backyard. Across the world, whether it be to keep warm, to cook food, or to keep the daylight going a little longer, millions upon millions of people count on fire pits to accomplish these goals. Almost everybody has a sentimental memory of being around one and for good reason. Fire pits have a way of bringing people together.
Of course, there are a few different ways of correctly starting a fire pit, and multiple ways it can go wrong. All it takes is a single member to start a forest fire, a house fire, to injure yourself or loved ones. It is extremely important to take the right precautions when starting and maintaining really any flame, and the surroundings of it.
What follows are some key pointers for making sure that everyone stays safe, and that no unnecessary injury to land, person, belongings or animal occurs. Many of these things are common sense, but they have still forgotten thousands of times every year.
Clear the Area
It is absolutely astounding how frequently this is forgotten or neglected, and there are multiple reasons why this occurs, unfortunately. Clear the area does, of course, mean that there is no debris anywhere even in moderate proximity to where the fire is to be started. It also, and this is forgotten in America A LOT, means that there is no grass or trees around the area. Unless one is a meteorologist and grass expert simultaneously, there is no way of knowing how dry the grass is or isn’t. Hundreds of people every year think they can just eyeball it and be safe, and they end up with a catastrophic event on their hands before they can do anything about it.
Use Safe Material To Contain the Fire
Like the first photo, stone makes for great material, perhaps the best. Gravel is excellent. Pottery clay is fun and inexpensive. If all else fails, just use mud that is wet enough to contain the fire, but can still hold a shape. Items that I’ve seen before that make me weary are made with “durable” plastics and metal. I wouldn’t worry about the metal except for it becoming too hot to manage should an emergency occur. Using plastic is not only sketchy, but you will absolutely release unwanted non-biodegradable pollutants into the air. For the love of all that is good, please do not use wood. This would seem like a basic principle, but I’ve seen it — it doesn’t matter how wet the wood is, the heat will dry it out.
Keep Plenty of Water Handy
Invest a negligible amount of money in a couple of pitchers, fill them up with similarly cheap tap water, and have them within 15 feet of the fire. A hose 100 feet away from the fire, on the other side of the house doesn’t cut it, and, even if it’s closer than that, you will still have to wait for the hose to build pressure to be effective.
Keep Plenty Of Extra Dirt On Hand
This one may not seem as obvious, so let me explain. There is only one way to verifiably know that a fire is completely out because embers can hide under ash. Fire needs oxygen to keep going. Throwing dirt on the fire after dousing it with water is the only way to be completely sure that no oxygen can come in contact with a fire.
Have a Blast!
Don’t forget to have a first aid kit and cell phone ready in the case of an accident occurring, but have fun! None of these things take longer to do, they are all preventative. If an emergency occurs, it is a guarantee that that fun will end for everybody. This does not have to be an “accidents happen” type of situation!
#summer2018 #safety #firesafety #firepits