Everyone loves an evening outdoors around a roaring fire. See our top tips for fire pit placement, usage, and maintenance to keep your fireside gatherings safe and enjoyable year after year.
Fire Pit Placement
Where should I set up my fire pit?
Fire pits should be installed on level ground that is not combustible. If you want to put your fire pit in a grassy area, be sure to set up a stone slab or bricks to create a safe, flat surface. For a long term solution, you may wish to pour a small concrete base dedicated to fire pit use. Your fire pit base should extend 18 inches beyond the edges of the fire pit in every direction.
How far should my fire pit be from my house?
Fire pits should be at minimum 10 feet away from any structure as well as nearby trees or plants. Fire pits emit a significant amount of heat that can affect surrounding structures and embers that can float up and catch overhanging items on fire. Check local regulations to ensure your fire pit is placed at the proper distance from any structure or property line as required by law.
Can I use a fire pit on a deck?
Provided your deck accommodates the 10-foot safety zone mentioned above and provides a safe space for the base of your fire pit, you should be able to comfortably use it on a deck. Be sure to treat a wood deck like a grassy area and use stones or a slab to keep the fire pit raised off of the combustible surface. Check local codes and laws in your area to ensure fire pits are allowed on outdoor structures.
Can I use a fire pit under a covered patio?
Avoid using a wood-burning fire pit under a covered patio as floating embers may be able to reach the ceiling and catch it on fire. Look to a propane- or gas-powered fire pit for covered patios as the flames are easier to control. Your covered patio should have open sides so excess heat can dissipate without damaging the space.
What furniture can you put around a fire pit?
Most outdoor furniture is safe to use around your fire pit. You’ll want to be sure there’s plenty of room for guests to move seating closer to the pit or further away if they begin to get too warm or bothered by smoke. Be sure to position chairs with plenty of room for guests to get up and down and safely move around your space. See some of our favorite seating ideas for fire pits to get inspired to round out your space.
What should you keep away from a fire pit?
Avoid wearing flammable or loose-fitting clothing around a fire pit. Also avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar or plywood or composite woods in your wood-burning fire pit. Keep children and pets at a safe distance. Do not place your fire pit directly on top of grass, wood, or mulch.
Fire Pit Usage
How do I safely start a wood fire pit?
Dry wood kindling or commercial fire starter sticks are the best options to start your wood fire pit. Avoid using gasoline, kerosene, or any accelerant as fuels can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. Long matches or lighters help get flames going without getting your hands too close to the fire. Check the wind direction when you light your fire pit and move anything flammable that may be down wind of the fire.
Can I leave a fire pit burning overnight?
Never leave a fire pit unattended for any reason. Ensure your fire is properly extinguished and the ashes are cool to the touch before going inside for the night.
How do I put out the fire in my fire pit?
For wood fire pits, allow flames to naturally subside as much as possible. Extinguish remnants with water, then use a shovel to stir and spread out the ashes to ensure all embers are out. Once ashes are cool to the touch you can leave your fire pit unattended. For gas or propane fire pits, simply turn off the fuel and wait for the pit to cool off before covering.
What do I do with ashes from my fire pit?
Once ashes are put out and cool to the touch, they can be disposed of in a metal can used exclusively for ashes. Do not put ashes in a compost pile or any flammable container.
Can I burn trash in my fire pit?
Burning trash is against the law in most areas. Do not use your fire pit to dispose of trash. Garbage and paper products can spark and create embers that can cause the fire to spread outside of the pit.
Fire Pit Accessories and Maintenance
What safety equipment and accessories should I have on hand when using my fire pit?
Always have a bucket of water or hose, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, or bucket of sand close by to douse a fire if it gets out of hand. A mesh spark screen also helps keep fire pit embers contained. Use a poker or tongs to move logs around safely.
How do I keep a fire pit clean?
Remove ashes after each use and brush away debris. Clean up any spills or residue if your fire pit has been used for cooking. Inspect and clean burners and valves on gas and propane fire pits regularly. See our guide on how to clean a fire pit and follow manufacturer’s instructions for deeper cleaning to avoid damaging your fire pit. Keep your fire pit covered when it’s not in use after it has cooled to the touch.