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How to Safely and Properly Extinguish a Fire Pit

Fire pit

It’s a fire pit, right? You’ve been around them since you were a kid. Maybe you’ve had one in your backyard before. Or, maybe you’re having one installed after years of always wanting one. How hard can it be to know how to extinguish the fire? Answer is that it’s not hard at all.

The problem is that the more we become comfortable with things the more complacent we become about using them safely.  When it comes to fire pits, you can never be too careful, especially when extinguishing the fire. Becoming lax when you’re done with the fire pit can lead to unmanageable fires, injuries, property damage and worse.

Now’s a great time to review how to safely and properly extinguish your fire pit. And, make sure you have all the necessary items nearby that you’ll need to do so, or even respond quickly in case of an emergency. This is especially important if you’re new to using a fire pit. It only takes a wayward ember or a split second for a tragedy to occur, and knowing what to do can keep you, your friends and family safe.

Natural Gas and Propane Fire Pits

Extinguishing the fire for the night is a matter of turning off the fuel source. Depending on your fire pit, it can be flicking a switch or turning a knob. As long as your fire pit was properly installed at a safe distance from anything that could catch fire and nothing is placed near it, it should cool down on its own. Keep fire gloves nearby to safely handle hot parts of the fire pit. Finally, should you ever need to extinguish the fire in an emergency situation, remember to shut off the fuel first.

Wood-Burning Fire Pits

In wood-burning fire pits, safe extinguishing at the end of the night begins with what type of wood you use. Use firewood that’s been seasoned at least six months. Don’t burn wood used for construction, such as plywood or composite woods, which can release toxic fumes while burning. Softwoods, such as pine and birch, tend to produce more crackles and sparks than seasoned hardwoods, like oak or hickory. Stick with seasoned hardwoods to avoid embers that might get away and inadvertently start a fire elsewhere. Cut logs so they fit well inside the fire pit. And, never use lighter fluid or gasoline to get or keep your fire pit going.

When you’re done for the evening, spread out what remains of the wood and ashes and give them a good dousing with water or sand. It’s tempting to let a mostly burned down fire burn itself out, but don’t. Be safe and ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving it.

NOTE: Most manufactured fire pits offer specific instructions for extinguishing a fire. Review the instructions before it’s time to put out your fire. Water can damage some fire pit materials. If the Complete Home Concepts team installs your fire pit, we’ll review everything you need to know for safe operation.

READ MORE: Are Fire Pits Safe? The Dumbest Things Smart People Do

More Safety Tips for Extinguishing a Fire Pit

  • Keep an eye out for any flying embers that could land on another surface and ignite a fire after smoldering long enough. If your fire pit has a screen, use it to help contain any embers.
  • Keep a container of sand or a hose (already attached to the faucet) nearby to put out any fire that gets out of hand. Make sure the hose nozzle is set on “spray,” and not “stream.” A direct stream can spread embers.
  • Invest in a fire blanket that you can throw over sparks, the fire itself, or heaven forbid, someone who has an ember fall on them or accidently somehow catches fire.
  • Have on hand a fully charged, dry-chemical fire extinguisher with a Class B and C or multipurpose rating. And, read how to use it, so you’re not wasting time should you ever need it.

Count on our installers to review everything you need to know about operating your wood burning or gas fire pit. We’re happy to help if you ever have a question on service, maintenance or usage. Read more about fire pit installation or give us a call to get a free quote.