Safety Around Fireplaces and Firepits
Fireplaces and firepits have become popular additions to any backyard landscape, but these awesome features come with equally awesome responsibilities. To avoid any fire-related mishaps in your backyard, keep these safety tips in mind:
• Keep your outdoor fireplace or fire pit at least 10 feet from any permanent structure (such as a house or garage), 3 feet from any furniture. Sparks or windblown hot ash can easily start fires, so keeping the flames as far as possible from flammable structures ensures they won't catch fire. Obviously, you should never use these devices indoors.
• Make sure the area above your fire pit, chiminea or outdoor fireplace is open -- free of tree branches, awnings or trellises.
• Set any portable fire unit on solid, level ground that is free of any flammable debris. Home decks generally are not appropriate locations for these devices, as they cannot handle the extreme heat. Apartment or multi-unit home decks should never house portable fire units.
• Invest in a fire screen, which prevents sparks from escaping the fire and landing on combustible objects -- or your guests -- surrounding the unit. Also, make a fire extinguisher your number-one accessory. As an added safety measure, never use the device during windy conditions.
• Keep your fire conservative. Use a small amount of fuel or firewood to create the fire, choose untreated hardwood (as you would in an indoor fireplace), and never use lighter fluid, or gasoline to start a wood fire. Don't stack your wood too high, as it could topple over as it burns, and keep a poker handy to manipulate the logs safely. Make sure extra fuel or wood is kept far from the device.
• Always follow the manufacturer's directions when using your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Before every use, inspect the device for any damage or wear; the smallest leak in a propane hose can create a gigantic problem for you and your guests.