Setting up a backyard fire pit: How to avoid a catastrophe

There’s nothing fun about an unsafe fire.

Adding an outdoor fire pit can be a great way to enhance the backyard. It's useful year-round, whether you’re gathering around for warmth during the winter or toasting some marshmallows in the summer.

The first thing to consider when adding a fire pit is placement, which should be placed a minimum of 10-feet away from houses and neighboring yards.

The first thing to consider when adding a fire pit is placement, which should be placed a minimum of 10-feet away from houses and neighboring yards. (iStock)

This summer, more folks might be eager to transform their yards into their own little vacation paradises, and a fire pit is an easy addition. Like anything else that involves fire, however, ignoring the relevant safety precautions can lead to disaster.

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The first thing to consider when adding a fire pit is placement. According to Home Advisor, pits should be placed a minimum of 10 feet away from houses and neighboring yards. They should also be placed somewhere under an open sky. This means that there shouldn’t be anything overhanging the pit, including tree branches, umbrellas, or any other decorations or structures.

Some areas don’t allow fire pits, so it’s important to check with local ordinances. It’s also important to check with your home insurance policy, as some require you to disclose if you’re adding a fire pit.

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According to UCI Health, dozens of people are seriously burned every year due to fire pits on beaches on backyards, which can be dangerous if they’re not extinguished properly. Since the pit can still smolder for up to 24 hours, simply covering it with dirt or sand isn’t enough.

To properly put out a wood-burning fire, Outdoor Command recommends letting all of the wood burn down and then spreading out the coals. Then, pour a bucket of water on the fire and make sure all of the elements are soaked (including surrounding rocks). There should be no remaining heat once the pit is out.

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Congratulations, you're almost ready to set up your fire pit. There's just one more thing you'll need: a plethora of s'mores recipes. Have a look at our favorite suggestions, then get to roasting.