Fire Pit Safety: How Far Should a Fire Pit Be from a House

Worried that you fire pit might cause fire trouble for your house? Check out our fire safety tip on how far should a fire pit be from a house.

Most people nowadays are getting more into the warm and cozy ambiance of having a campfire or a simple outdoor barbecue celebration just outside their houses. There is a certain appeal of being able to open that patio door and walk out into an extension of the house wherein you can entertain guests in a good fourth of July grill-out celebration. It is like going out into a park, gathering around a roaring fire pit, toasting marshmallows while sharing stories without actually leaving the safety of your own backyard.

If you really think about it, having a fire pit at home offers a lot of advantages. It does not matter much if you have the traditional, in-ground built fire pit or the more modern, free-standing, gas fueled type. It all boils down to being able to enjoy the functionality of having a nice fire, ready to be used in any way at your disposal. However, before you go out and buy your own fire pit or contact the nearest contractor to build you one, you should first consider the safety protocols and what it entails to not just enjoy the benefit of having a fire pit at home but to use it without starting any accidental fire mishaps or disaster.

A fire pit is extremely useful but you have to remember that you are dealing with a live fire and when you are not careful, it can easily be a source of a major catastrophe. This is why most people get into every minor detail that entails SAFELY USING a fire pit especially when within a residential area. If you are already lighting up a fire pit and have not even asked or considered how far it should be from your home or deck, then you are starting off on the wrong, dangerous foot.

Not to worry though because here are simple tips that you can go through to help you get a better understanding on what it takes to be able to utilize your fire pit without worrying too much.

GENERAL SAFETY RULES AND REGULATIONS ON RESIDENTIAL FIRE PITS

It is not just about knowing what is the safest distance of your fire pit should be from your home that you have to consider. There are certain rules and regulations that most homeowner’s associations have when it comes to residential fire pits. Contacting your local authorities is the very first step that you have to take in order to know the specific guidelines when it comes to operating a fire pit in your back yard.

There are also regulations when it comes to burning when it comes to certain areas in the county. Check if you are living in an urban area which is considered as a high fire hazard zone since these cities or counties might have stricter rules about burning or starting a fire within residential areas. It is imperative that you have these guidelines on lock and checked to avoid getting heavy fines and tickets.

Do not get discouraged if you find out that you are living in an area where there is a permanent ban on burning in place. The great thing about fire pits is that you do have an option to use a fueled type instead of the wood burning ones. This emits less smoke and does not pose a huge fire hazard threat as compared to wood or coal burning ones. However, you do have to be mindful of propane gas handling safety and consult with a professional. It is also wise to double check again on the regulations regarding LPG fueled fire pits.

FIRE PIT CLEARANCE FROM THE HOUSE AND OTHER STRUCTURES

If you have gotten the go-ahead from your local government to build a fire pit then it is time to consider some more safety tips before proceeding. You have to make sure that when you do light up that fire, all you have to worry about is what to grill next or if you are running low on beer!

How Far Should a Fire Pit Be from a House?

A general rule when it comes to fire pits is to place it at least 10-15 feet away from anything that is combustible or a fire hazard. This includes not just your house and if you have a deck or patio but also the vegetation around it.

Check for things to avoid around your fire pit’s surroundings:

  • Overhead tree branches
  • Bushes, tall grass and garden beds
  • Tool sheds
  • Fences
  • Wooden furniture
  • Debris pile (i.e., trash, pile of dried leaves, twigs and cut branches…)

You also have to be mindful of your property’s boundary or property line. You do not want to encroach on your neighbor’s space or worse, send strong fumes towards their direction when you are barbecuing. Again, check your local regulations when it comes how close your fire pit can be to your property’s border line.

It is also to your benefit to avoid building your fire pit on uneven ground or under power lines to be extra safe. If you have gas fueled fire pits, check the user manual if your portable fire pit is safe to be used on a wooden deck or on a grassy patch of land. You do not want to start burning your wooden floors or starting a fire on your lawn.

FIRE PIT SAFETY TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES

It is common knowledge that sometimes, people do not pay close attention to user manuals and instructions. If you have the urge to feel like you already know what to do with your newly bought fire pit then stop and pick up that user guide. You have to understand and put to mind how the equipment works, its back-up safety protocols and memorize emergency numbers in case of accidents or malfunctions.

Another pitfall that most people have when it comes to grills, fire pits and equipment is that they tend to steer away from buying necessary add-on tools because they do not want to spend so much cash. Well, the truth of the matter is, you cannot put a price tag on safety. If you truly want to maximize your fire pit experience and be on the safe side, you better be ready to splurge on these safety tools and accessories.

  • Spark Mesh Guard or Spark Screen – This is important to keep the live embers and ash from shooting out of the fire pit and burning anyone or anything around its area. Wood-burning fire is unpredictable and sometimes, embers tend to get spat out of the pit. You do not want it landing on anything combustible or worse, on your pet or children who are seated or playing around your fire pit.
  • Steel pokers or Fire Tongs – Invest in good, high-quality, fire-proof pokers or wood tongs so you can handle your fire pit at a safe distance. You need to tend to the fire by adding wood or when you are grilling over it. Use this tool so you will not handle anything hot directly with your hands.
  • Fire Proof Gloves – Always have a good pair of fire proof gloves at a ready since you might need to handle a hot grill grate or even just hot food off the grill. These will also come in handy when you are putting out your fire pit and handling coal and ash safely.
  • Fire Extinguisher – It is always a great idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand and ready whenever you have a barbecue or just chilling by your fire pit. It is the fastest way to put out a fire. Of course, be sure you know how to use it properly.

PUTTING OUT FIRE PITS SAFELY

Putting out the fire in your fire pit is just as important as safely starting or using it. You have to know what to do in case there is a flare-up that happens. A flare-up is usually an unexpected surge in the fire that you are keeping in your fire pit. Again, a fire extinguisher comes in handy in this situation but if you do not have one you can simply use either water or sand.

Water – When using water from a garden hose, set it on spray and make sure not to turn a strong jet stream of water to the flare up. A focused stream of water can cause burning embers to spread. Also, make sure to spray the hose from a good distance because water and fire creates steam which can be hot enough to burn skin.

Sand – If your fire pit cannot withstand getting wet or you do not have quick access to your garden hose, then make sure to have a bucket of sand nearby. This bucket of dry sand can be dumped on the fire to extinguish your fire pit.

If you are using a gas fueled fire pit, make sure you know how to turn off the valve which cuts off the supply of LPG before you attempt to put out the fire.

Once you are done using your fire pit, ensure that you put out the fire thoroughly. Remember, the absence of flame does not mean that it can no longer burn or start a fire. The wood burnt embers might still be hot enough and when left alone, it can reignite the fire pit unattended and cause accidents. Know how to safely and completely put out your fire pit so you do not wake up to any fire hazard surprises!

Fire pits are meant to be enjoyed and used to create wonderful memories. Learn each safety tip you can find and follow every rule and guideline so that you just don’t know how far your fire pit should be from your house but also, how far you and your family will be from any accident!

Enjoy!

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