Fire Pit Safety | How to Use a Fire Pit Safely

Written by Shayle Follows

There’s nothing better than gathering around a fire pit with friends and family. Before you get started it’s a great idea to give yourself a fire pit safety refresh! Here is our guide to using a fire pit safely.

From establishing the correct placement for your fire pit to identifying the types of wood you should never burn, here are 8 tips for using a fire pit safely.

Fire Pit Safety

1. Check the weather

Before you start your fire pit, it’s a good idea to check your local weather forecast. Using your fire pit on very windy days cant make it difficult to light your kindling and potentially could blow sparks into the surroundings. We usually try to find a location for a fire pit with a natural windbreak. If you check the wind direction you can figure out where to sit people to keep clear of the smoke too.

2. Use good kindling

Best kindling to light a fire pit safely

We would suggest that Cedarwood is a fantastic wood for kindling as it burns quickly with a lot of heat. The fact that Cedarwood burns so hot and quick, we do not recommend it as the main fire pit fuel source. Just use it to start your fire. Softwoods are better as kindling as they burn quickly.  If you are able, see what’s on your property and start collecting a dry kindling stock. We recommend Logpile kindling for most fire pits and chimeneas. They offer free UK delivery on all their kindling and fire pit wood.

Recommend kindling for your fire pit

3. Use the correct wood

Fire pit safety, use the correct wood

Kiln-dried hardwood logs are the best wood for fire pits. Using the correct wood is a key factor in fire pit safety. Hardwood logs burn for a substantial amount of time because of the density of the wood species. Kiln-dried logs are a better choice than seasoned ones because they supply a clean burn with minimal smoking as the amount of moisture in the wood has been effectively reduced during the kiln drying process.

Here are the best types of wood to ensure your fire pits burns safely

Hickory: This is one of the hottest burning hardwoods it is famous and therefore pretty easy to find, seasons quickly, smells great when burning, and burns for a long time.

Ash: A quick seasoning wood, it burns very hot and is simple to work with especially if you are prepping your own wood for fire pit use. White ash is a very common option for firewood.

Beech: Actually quite similar to ash in terms of heat and burning length. Slow to season due to the high moisture content in the wood.  Also, beech can be difficult to split and challenging to light at times.

Oak: This extremely dense hardwood burns hot and for a long time, however, it can be a challenge to light.  White oak is a common option for fire pit firewood.

Recommended wood for fire pit safety

4. What not to burn in your fire pit

Fire Pit Safety

There are different fuels that you should avoid using on your fire as they can be potentially harmful to you and the surrounding environment too. Poorly seasoned firewood will produce a lot of smoke which can be harmful if inhaled. Treated wood (painted, laminated, creosote soaked, pressure, or chemically treated wood) should not be put on a back garden fire again these can produce harmful smoke.
Lighter fluid or any other accelerant. For a small garden fire, these are just not needed and can be a safety hazard as these can make your fire get out of hand quickly, you can create an easily manageable fire with kindling and firefighters. Put rubbish in the bin, not onto your fire!

5. Keep your fire small

Using a fire pit safely

It’s really important to keep your fire small or reasonable size. There’s no need for a huge bonfire, a big fire is much harder to control and so there is far greater potential for something dangerous to happen.

6. Sit a good distance away from your fire

Using a fire pit safely in your garden

We all know not to sit too close to a fire pit, this is especially important when you have children with you or you’re cooking/toasting marshmallows. Hair, clothes, or other materials can catch fire easily so make sure you sit a good distance away from the fire, roll up your sleeves and hair tie hair back when you’re tending a fire.

7. Never leave your fire unattended

Fire Pit Saftey Marshmallow Toasting

Even if your fire has died off and is only glowing embers do not leave it unattended. Tiny flames can still be a potential threat to your safety. Pour water over live embers, and turn logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning before you leave your fire pit.

8. Keep a bucket of water close by

How to use a fire pit safely

Have a bucket or container of water close by or a garden hose on standby in case things do get out of control. If your fire somehow does escape your fire pit and moves into nearby kindling, trees, fence or another combustible surface, immediately call the Fire Service.

Well made fire pit

9. Choose a well-made fire pit

One of the main factors in fire pit safety is using a well-made fire pit that is not likely to warp or shatter under the intense heat of regular fires. There are so many fire pits on the market today, that it is hard to know which one to choose. Look at the previous reviews of fire pits on sites such as Amazon and ensure the fire pit has plenty of feedback from previous buyers. We also recommend you use a fire pit that comes with a protective mesh cover. Cast iron fire pits are heavy, but they are designed to last for years and are very sturdy.

Recommend fire pits for your garden

10. Finally, how to light the perfect fire;

You will need; Firelighters, kindling, and logs.

  • Put a firelighter in the centre of your fire pit if you want to make a larger fire then use two. Place a couple of bits of kindling on either side of the firelighter.
  • Abit like Jenga! Stack two more bits of kindling, make sure that they are in the opposite direction to the first two, on top. make sure to leave a gap in the centre of the stack.
  • Next make a third layer of kindling, stacked in the alternate direction to your previous two, continue on if you feel like your fire pit needs it. If you only placed one firelighter in the centre of your stack at the start, you might want to place another one at a different point in your kindling stack.
  • It’s time to light your firelighters, make sure that you start with the furthest ones away from you first. Allow the fire to start on kindling. Next, carefully place a log on top of the kindling stack once you are happy that there is a stable flame.
  • Allow the log to take the flame and begin burning properly before you add any further logs to the fire.
  • Finally, add more logs to the fire as needed.

Recommend starter kit for lighting a fire pit safely

When used safely, a fire pit is a wonderful addition to any garden. Enjoy cosy nights around the fire, toasting marshmallows and telling stories with friends and family. There is nothing better than a fire pit to enhance your outdoor space. We hope these fire pit safety tips will help you get the most from your fire pit.

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