A bonfire and a cold beverage on a cool summer night is a great way to end the day. Before you strike the match and get the blaze going there are a few safety tips to learn that will protect both you and your property from damage. Taking a few simple precautions will prevent your night from going up in smoke.
Create a Fire Proof Border
When designing your back yard patio, create a border around the fire pit that is fireproof. It will protect your grass from damage if a spark happens to escape and reduces the risk of fire damage to chairs and small table. The border should be at least 18 to 24 inches wide and made of fire proof material, like sand, concrete pavers, decorative brick or pea gravel. In addition to its safety benefits, it can also improve the look of the area.
Use a Metal Fire Ring or Insert
In addition to the fire proof border, install a metal fire ring or insert. This keeps the fire and ash inside the fire pit and prevents it from catching the grass on fire. Not only does it keep things inside, it also prevents items from rolling into the fire pit. Fire pit rings usually rise above the surface of the ground by at least two inches to add a protective barrier. Metal rings come in many shapes and sizes and are easily replaced if one gets damaged.
Use the Right Size Firewood
Even if you use a fire pit ring, the firewood can sometimes escape if it is too long or is placed so it hangs over the edge. Always make sure the piece of firewood fits securely inside the fire pit ring. Know the size of the fire pit from side to side and measure your wood so that it fits neatly inside. This will prevent pieces from splitting off and rolling outside of the fire pit. This not only protects the grass but other people who may try and pick up the wood not realizing it is extremely hot.
Always Use Dry Wood
No matter what type of wood you choose to use, make sure it is as dry as possible. Wood that has not been properly cured can pop and crackle sending sparks flying outside of the fire pit. Not only is this a fire hazard, it can also cause people sitting nearby to be burnt or their clothes damaged. Dry wood will be burn smoothly and efficiently. The type of wood you choose will produce different levels of heat and will burn at different rates. For example, hard woods like oak or hickory will burn much slower and produce more heat than softer woods like pine.
Make a Cover for the Fire Pit
When the night is over, stir up the embers so they burn completely. When the fire is out and the ash has started to cool, cover the fire pit with a sturdy cover, preferably one made of metal. This prevents the ash from blowing all over the lawn and will keep animals from digging in it. It also prevents the pit from filling up with water if it rains.
Fire pits are an excellent addition for any backyard environment as long as the necessary precautions are taken to protect the lawn and the people who will be spending their time relaxing around it. A properly built fire pit will last for several years and can act as both a grill as well as a place of enjoyment. You can buy grates, spits, and cooking hooks that can be removed and stored when not in use. The benefits are endless, especially if the fire pit is constructed in a way that allows for additional features to be added over time.