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Fire Pit Safety

The Allure of the Fire Pit

At no time in our recent history have people been more invested in making their home an inviting and comfortable space.  Installing a backyard fire pit can help maximize your outdoor living area during cool summer nights and extend the outdoor entertaining season as we head towards fall.  Gathering around a fire pit invites ghost stories, roasted marshmallows, and hot chocolate.  They help create a cozy atmosphere, and a fire pit will quickly become a focal point of your outdoor living area.

There are several different types of fire pits to choose from.  Below we cover some of the most popular styles.

Wood Fire Pits

Wood burning fire pits are usually the most affordable option. They are also easy to install.  They produce more heat than those that use propane or natural gas, but they also are greater contributors to pollution.  Some California counties have restricted burn days, which could limit the time you can enjoy your fire pit.

A wood fire pit is fairly simple to build yourself.  Below is a YouTube video showing how to do just that.

Gas Fire Pits

Gas fire pits are convenient, easy to light, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and material choices.  Usually, they contain a compartment in the base that houses the propane tank.  Many are set up to serve double duty as a coffee table on which you can rest your beverage.  One particularly cool feature of the gas fire pit is that you can replace the standard lava rock with fire glass, which is available in many colors.  The glass pebbles catch the reflection of the flames and add color and movement.


Chimineas were the first types of fire pits to become popular several years ago.  The word is Spanish for “chimney,” and they look like and function as portable fireplaces.  They are typically constructed with clay, cast aluminum, or cast iron.  They most often feature a round bottom with a vertical stack that funnels the smoke upward. 

Installed Outdoor fireplace

A professionally installed outdoor fireplace is the most expensive option.  It is a feature that can be added to a backyard patio during original home construction or as part of a remodel.  An outdoor fireplace can be built to burn natural gas, propane, or wood.  Some even double as a pizza oven.

Fire Pit Safety

Of course, an open flame of any kind demands attention to safety. The National Fire Protection Association offers the following advice for a safe fire pit experience:

  • Before lighting a fire, check the wind direction.
  • Do not use flammable agents such as gasoline or lighter fluid to ignite or reactivate flames.
  • Do not wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing near the fire.
  • Make sure children and pets stay at least three feet away from the flames.
  • Avoid using pine, cedar, or other softwoods that “pop” and send sparks.
  • Keep a garden hose, fire extinguisher, or bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not leave a fire unattended.

In addition to the above, learn about the safe disposal of ashes when the fire has gone out for the night.  One method is to place them in a metal container after they have cooled, then pour water over them.

Fire pits should not be placed near fences or overhanging branches and should be located a safe distance from your house and other structures.

South Lake Tahoe Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in South Lake Tahoe.  My life’s work has been to help injured Northern Californians for more than four decades.  I understand the challenges and frustrations following an automobile accident.  For compassionate, free, and friendly advice, do not hesitate to call my law firm at (800) 404-5400 or (530) 392-9400.

I’ve worked on behalf of families and individuals in South Lake Tahoe for over 38 years. To read about some of our case successes, check out the settlements and verdicts section of my website.  Many of my prior clients have graciously left reviews of my services at these sites:


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