As the weather starts to warm up in Ontario, you may be looking for more ways to spend time outdoors. One great way to do this and enjoy time with friends and family is to sit around a fire pit. In order to keep everyone safe, we’ve compiled our top tips for fire pit safety that you should remember every time you gather around the fire.

1. Don’t wear flammable clothing

Although it may not be your first thought, our first tip for fire pit safety is to wear non-flammable clothing. Certain materials, such as nylon, and styles of clothing, such as loose-fitting tops, are more susceptible to catching fire. When sitting around a fire pit, we recommend wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as leggings or a fitted t-shirt. If you’re looking for some more ideas, this article breaks down which materials you should avoid and which you should wear around the fire pit. If you wouldn’t wear it near a stove, the same applies for a fire pit!

2. Keep children and pets away from the fire

Our second tip is arguably the most important. Please make sure children and pets are at least three feet away from the fire pit at all times. Even if they are older, fire can be unpredictable, and it’s important to ensure their safety, as well as your own. If your pet is joining in on the backyard or camping fun, our biggest tip is to keep them on a leash to ensure their safety. If they want to explore or play outside, make sure you take them very far away from the fire pit, or better yet, to a park nearby.

3. Avoid certain types of wood

When building your fire, it’s important to know which types of wood to avoid. Any type of soft wood, such as pine or cedar, are more susceptible to sparks and popping. Instead, look for harder wood, such as ash or beech. These woods will hold fire longer, as well as create less hazard for people enjoying the fire pit.

4. Keep an extinguisher nearby

Anytime you are burning a fire, it’s very important to keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Whether it’s a real fire extinguisher, a hose, or a bucket of water, having this safety protocol nearby will allow for quick access if needed. It’s also a way of ensuring everyone around you is safe, even in the likely case you won’t need to use it. 

5. Check the wind conditions

Before you build your fire, it’s important to check if the weather is agreeable. If it’s too windy outside, the fire will extinguish quickly, and small sparks can often hit bushes, or even people, nearby. It’s also important to check the direction of the wind before starting to set up your fire. Place chairs or seating arrangements on the opposite side of where the wind is blowing. If it’s blowing to the east, advise everyone to sit on the west side. This way, the smoke won’t consistently blow into people’s faces. You can even move your fire pit to a less windy location (if possible) to avoid any issues.

6. Never leave a fire pit unattended

This is another very important fire pit safety tip you should remember when burning a fire. Always ensure an adult is watching the fire, even if it is beginning to die down. Small sparks or embers can create a big problem if the fire is unattended. If it’s getting late and the fire is down to its final embers, pour some water over the remaining flames and wait until it has died down completely before leaving it. If it’s a gas fire pit, be sure that it has been turned off safely, as well as the gas line itself.

7. Build your fire in the open and keep a safe distance

Another important tip you should remember is to build your fire pit in the open. This is especially true when camping! Remember to never light your fire underneath any kind of covering, whether it’s an overhang, a balcony, or a canvas tarp. It’s also important to keep the general space around the fire pit clear in case of an emergency. If it’s a gas fire pit, be sure to clear the surrounding area of any combustible materials to eliminate opportunity for explosions.

8. Drink responsibly near fire

Although this tip applies to any social event, it’s especially important to drink responsibly when around a fire pit. There are many reasons why this fire pit safety tip is important, including how alcohol responds to both our bodies and fire itself. Alcohol can impair our judgement and is highly flammable, making it a seriously problematic combination. If you do want to consume alcohol while enjoying your fire pit, we recommend keeping a safe distance between yourself and the flames. Even if you’re just having one drink, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

9. Light your fire safely

When lighting a fire, it’s important to take any extra precautions to keep everyone safe. One great tip is to put a little bit of sand at the bottom of your fire pit. This will keep the pit from overheating. If at all unsure, read the manuel (if it is a store-bought pit.)

10. Check your home insurance policy

And finally, it’s important to know what your home insurance policy covers in the case of a fire. Although this is a very unlikely scenario, being aware of what your policy covers will give you peace of mind. 

We hope this article helps give you some helpful insight on how to safely enjoy your fire pit this summer. If you have any questions regarding how your home insurance may be affected in the case of a fire emergency, reach out to a member of our isure team.

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