One of the best parts about summer is spending time outside with friends and family, especially if it’s around a fire. Whether you’re camping or having a fire in your backyard, there are some safety concerns to consider when using a fire pit. We’ve rounded up a few tips to keep in mind before you head out and spark the flames.

Stay three feet away at all times
Be sure you’re sitting at least three feet away from the flames—this is especially important for children and pets. Standing or sitting any closer can be dangerous and puts you at risk of falling in or near the fire, knocking the fire pit over, and more. Even if you’re roasting marshmallows (who doesn’t love making s’mores!?), be sure to use a long wooden stick or metal rod so you’re still at a safe enough distance.

Use the proper kindle
There’s a lot more to starting a fire than just lighting wood with a match. Only burn wood that has been seasoned at least six months, and do not burn any construction materials like plywood or composite woods. Also, do not burn plastic, as this can release chemicals in the air that are harmful when ingested. Finally, although lighter or fluid may seem like a good way to get a jump-start on your fire, using these flammable liquids can be extremely dangerous. One interesting household item you can burn to start a fire? Dryer sheets!

Extinguish it properly
When putting the fire out, make sure it’s extinguished properly before heading back inside. Before dousing it in water, be sure to check the instructions for your firepit, as some materials like ceramic or metal may crack. If you’re having trouble getting the flames to fully extinguish, consider investing in a fire blanket to get rid of the lingering sparks and smoke.

Check the weather…and your surroundings
If wind is in the forecast, you may want to reconsider lighting a fire. Lighting a fire in windy conditions can cause the fire to spread to other closeby objects like trees, plants, or lawn furniture. Similarly, before lighting your fire, make sure the pit is placed on level ground, is not directly under any hanging plants or trees, and is far away from other objects.

If you find yourself in a situation with fire, smoke, or soot damage from your fire pit, give us a call. Our technicians are experienced in fire restoration and will get your backyard back to feeling like paradise.