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Outdoor Fireplace, Firepit

Outdoor Fireplace and Fire Pit Safety Tips

Many Maryland families spend more evenings outdoors with school out for the summer and the weather warming up. And what better way to enjoy a summer evening than roasting marshmallows for s’mores or lighting a fire to keep the mosquitoes at bay?

While having a fire feature or two in your backyard adds to your enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces, it also brings responsibility and safety issues. Take a few moments this week to review some outdoor fireplace and fire pit safety tips with your family, including your kids. Doing so could prevent a dangerous situation.

Safety Tip #1: Do Not Leave a Fire Unattended

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you should never leave a fire in your fire pit or outdoor fireplace unattended. This advice is crucial with a wood fire, where the wood may crack and pop and send embers flying. 

Those embers can easily cause patio furniture or dry grass to catch fire. 

Not leaving a fire unattended also means ensuring the fire is out before going inside for the night. For a wood fire, don’t put any more fuel on the fire when there’s about an hour to go before lights out.

Safety Tip #2: Don’t Burn Wood Other Than Cured Firewood

Don’t burn chemically treated wood, which can release toxins into the air. Examples of chemically treated wood include:

  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Wood that has been painted or stained
  • Wood that has been glued

Dry hardwood is best for a wood-burning fire. Softwoods such as pine and fir can pop and throw sparks. In addition, don’t burn plastics or other trash. Dispose of those items properly.

Safety Tip #3: Don’t Use a Flammable Liquid to Start a Fire

Charcoal fluid, lighter fluid, and kerosene on your firewood could cause an explosion and injury. You can use fatwood, twigs, dry leaves, or crumpled-up newspaper to help get a wood fire started. And, of course, you simply open the valve with a gas or propane fire pit or fireplace. 

Safety Tip #4: Keep Children and Chairs 3’ Away from a Fire

Do not let children run around the fire, and don’t leave them unsupervised. You can also arrange chairs at least 3 feet away for family members and guests. If someone needs to get up and walk, they should walk behind the chairs rather than closer to the fire. 

Safety Tip #5: Have a Plan to Put Out a Fire

If an ember jumps and starts a fire, have a plan to put out the fire and keep it from spreading. A bucket of sand can do the trick, as can a well-aimed garden hose. If you have an outdoor kitchen, equip it with a fire extinguisher as an added safety measure. 

Safety Tip #6: Avoid an Open Fire on a Windy Day

Wind and fire can be a deadly combination. If it’s a windy day, choose NOT to have a fire going. This decision is critical if the weather has been dry. One tiny spark can set dry grass or shrubs on fire, and the wind will spread the fire quickly.

By following these safety tips, you and your family can enjoy the fire and protect the health and safety of everyone and your home.

Make It Exceptional. Make It Woodfield.

If you plan to upgrade your outdoor living space with a new outdoor fireplace or built-in fire pit, play it safe and hire skilled professionals. At Woodfield Outdoors, we design and build custom outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces, and custom fire pits that our clients enjoy for years to come. We follow all building and fire codes for your safety.

The road to your outdoor oasis starts with hiring an outdoor living contractor who can give you the exceptional experience you deserve. That’s what we deliver. We provide custom design and installation services for homeowners throughout the Baltimore area, including Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County, and Howard County. Schedule a call today.

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