Top Tips To Make A Safe Campfire In Your Backyard

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What is it about bonfires that holds our gaze? Could it be it’s because of the primal feeling that follows? Whichever the case, it’s safe to say that backyard campfires are undeniably a fantastic form of outdoor entertainment. Apart from the warmth and coziness they offer under the stars, they help establish an intimate atmosphere for social gatherings and a convergence point where guests can celebrate and share stories.

Depending on how you set up your campfire, you can even cook whole meals over the campfire’s flames. However, this will depend on the campfire accessories and the type of fire pit you have installed.

To get the most fun and enjoyment from your backyard campfire, you must abide by campfire safety regulations.

Pre-Installation Guidelines For Setting Up A Backyard Campfire

Before you set up any fire feature in your backyard, ensure you comply with the following guidelines.

Inquire About Fire Pit Regulations From Your Local Governing Body

Some counties and cities are very strict on fire pit size and placement rules. Other cities and counties don’t allow backyard campfires at all!

If you’re a member of Homeowner’s Association or live in a neighborhood with CC&Rs (conditions, covenants, and restrictions) about how you use your property, ensure there are no restrictions or regulations before investing in a backyard fire pit project.

Also, keep yourself updated with your locality’s burn ordinances or burn bans so you can stoke a campfire in your backyard with a clear conscience.

Get A Fire Extinguisher Early

Buy a good class A rated fire extinguisher to deal with campfire emergencies before you install your fire pit and start enjoying it.

Ensure that you read the fire extinguisher’s instructions keenly, keep it serviced for ready usage, and keep it in the fire pit’s vicinity. Also, make sure that people who will be using the pit know how to use the extinguisher and exactly where to find it.

As an alternative to your fire extinguisher, have a fire blanket, bucket of sand or a garden hose close to your fire pit.

Make Careful Deliberations On Where To Place Your Fire Pit

For safe backyard campfires, the general consensus is that your fire pit should not be less than 10 feet away from any structure or anything that could catch fire easily. However, this distance can vary and depends on the size of the fire pit you want to install. If it’s a big fire pit, the placement may need to be farther away from your home or any flammable structures.

Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions for pit placement if you opt for a DIY installation. Also, ensure there aren’t any potential outdoor fire risks like overhanging tree branches.

When deliberating on fire pit placement, consider other issues such as the wind. Windy conditions can quickly start a fire if the wind blows sparks from your pit. So, if your area experiences windy conditions, place windbreakers around your fire pit.

Incorporate A Firebreak Into Your Design

Even if you take the right precautions to install and use your fire pit, something may happen that could send wayward sparks or burning embers flying out of your fire pit and onto the ground.

Plan for such incidences by incorporating a firebreak into your fire pit’s design. You can do this by making a gravel ring around your firepit. Alternatively, you can build a paved patio around the pit. Your guests can also use the pavement patios as seating areas.

Buy A Screen Or Install A Fire Pit That Comes With A Screen

Although the glare of an uncovered campfire may be just what you are looking for, a screen can offer protection and keep sparks and burning embers from flying off dangerously.

Consider Having Your Fire Pit Installed By A Professional

You should consider professional fire pit installation if you plan on setting up a complicated project. While some homeowners may go for the DIY option, professional installers are experienced and well versed in designing and installing fire pits and will set up your backyard campfire with your well-being in mind.

Tips On How To Use Your Fire Pit Safely

An infographic on how to use your backyard fire pit safely

Once you have installed your fire pit, enjoying your new backyard feature should be next. But before you invite people over for a campfire in your backyard, ensure you can start and maintain a campfire in your backyard without any mishaps. While fire pits are a fun feature to have in your backyard, they pose a massive threat to your safety. In 2017, more than 5,300 people were treated for fire pit- related injuries, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Below are tips to help you set up a safe blazing campfire in your backyard:

1. Clean The Pit And The Area Around It

Before starting a campfire, ensure that you clear the pit’s surroundings to eliminate flammable objects and debris like dry leaves.

If your fire pit is dirty from the last campfire you lit, take this time to clean and remove the ashes from the pit as you prepare for your next one. When readying your fire pit for use, ensure you prepare your fire extinguishing supplies too and keep them close.

2. Use The Right Fuel

To find out the exact kind of fuel, you should use on your fire pit, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer. For instance, if your pit is designed to burn wood, then use dry wood or sticks.

While it might be tempting to recycle that broken piece of patio furniture as fuel, avoid using chemically treated, painted, or stained wood. Because using wood as a fuel already makes fire pits put out unnecessary pollution, consider using more environmentally friendly fuel such as wood bricks and recycled coffee grounds.

It might seem like a good idea to get your fire going by tossing lighter fuel on it, but catalysts are unnecessary may cause the fire to flare-up, and cause more air pollution.

3. Start With A Small Fire

Although you can start a campfire by placing crumbled up paper under a kindling flame, it’s safer to use factory-made fire starters. Once you have lit your fire starter, build your campfire gradually by placing small sticks as you graduate to larger wood pieces.

Use wood that is proportionate to your fire bowl’s size. Make sure the wood doesn’t lean on the size or stick out of the bowl.

4. Watch The Kids

Like adults, kids also enjoy watching the glaring flames of a burning fire, but they are not as informed about fire safety and precaution. If there will be children present, ensure you have a plan to keep them busy, entertained, and away from the fire. Don’t let them out of your sight - not even for a sec - because the moment you do is when things take a wrong turn.

5. Maintain A Safe Sitting Distance

Sitting by the fire makes watching the flames and feeling the warmth even more enjoyable. But you want to maintain a safe distance while you and your guests are around the campfire to avoid any harm befalling them or your furniture. Keep in mind that even the best-maintained campfires can send sparks flying that could ruin your oh so precious patio furniture, so you better keep your seats at a safe distance.

6. Use The Right Resources

For your backyard campfire to be a success, especially if you plan on cooking, make sure you use accessories specially designed for use over a campfire. Such accessories usually have wooden handles and long prongs to keep your hands safe as you roast your treats. Whether it’s meat or vegetables, if you want to do some grilling, use the right outdoor grilling accessories.

7. Keep An Eye On The Campfire At All Times

When you have guests over for a backyard campfire gathering, make your fire pit the focal point of your party. For instance, when you set up a backyard movie theatre or an outdoor dining area, you can always stay close and monitor the fire without separating from your guests.

If you can’t keep an eye on the fire, leave a responsible adult in charge.

8. Put Out Your Fire Correctly

After the event is done and dusted, extinguish your fire correctly before retiring to bed. Letting the fire burn out is an unnecessary risk that could end with the fire department showing up in your residence.

Leaving your fire to fizzle out after dowsing it with water is not enough because it can flare up once left unattended. To put out the fire properly, let it burn down, spread out the ashes in the fire bowl, and finally pour some water on it until the ash stops steaming.

9. Clean Your Fire Pit After Use

For a safe and enjoyable backyard campfire experience, clean and maintain your fire pit or fire bowl. After all the ash has cooled down completely, remove any partially burned or unburned pieces of wood. Store these pieces of wood for later use. Once you remove the larger debris, sweep the smaller debris and ashes to your fire bowl’s center using a sturdy brush or broom. Collect the ashes using a dustpan and dispose of them. Also, remember to unclog your fire pit’s drains or vents.

One of the most desirable backyard landscaping features is fire pits, especially in areas where outdoor entertainment is possible all year round. Campfires are a fantastic way to spend time with friends and family. These campfire tips will help you get the best out of your backyard campfire gathering while keeping everyone safe.

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