Outdoor fireplace safety tips

22 September, 2015

Outdoor fireplaces are great additions to backyard settings, but although these fixtures create cozy environments, you still need to be careful when using them. Practicing fire safety is essential in any home that sports a fire pit or fireplace. Here are a few tips to follow for keeping you and your family safe:

1. Keep it small
Bonfires are fun to create, but they also increase the possibility of embers getting away from you. Keeping the fire pit materials low is important for this reason, but the same goes for the fireplace. If you have too many logs on the grate, one could accidentally roll off when the bottom ones start to break down. It's also more difficult to get these fires out at the end of the night because there is more material you have to disburse.

2. Clean the surrounding area
Your fireplace is outside, which means leaves and other debris are going to blow into the patio area where it sits. Before you light the fire, make sure you've swept all of these items away from the hearth. Leaving dry, flammable materials near the fireplace, like old leaves, creates an unnecessary fire risk. So, before you have a get together, take a broom to the area and thoroughly sweep it out.

3. Be prepared
You might be practicing safe fire tips like creating small fires and keeping the surroundings clean, but fire is unpredictable, so always be prepared. This means you'll want to keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case an ember gets away from you. It also wouldn't hurt to have a fire extinguisher next to the patio space in case of emergencies.

4. Extinguish before leaving
When you're done outside, it's vital you make sure your fire is completely out before heading in for the night. Now, this doesn't mean dumping a little water onto the ashes and calling it good. Reduce the risk of uncontained fires by first spreading out the ashes, and then carefully pour some water over all of it. However, your job doesn't stop here. You'll want to monitor the fire for a few minutes to make sure there aren't any hot spots left. If there are, add a little more water. Make sure you're pouring the water slowly over the fire. Splashing it inside the grate will not only make a mess, but could potentially spray you with hot, muddy ash.