What better way to enjoy the outdoors than around a cozy outdoor fire pit?
But fire safety is key when it comes to protecting your property, said Tim Bemis, insurance services regional manager at Dupaco Insurance Services.
Follow these tips to keep your next recreational fire both fun and safe:
Let the weather forecast be your guide
If it’s windy, a fire can spread quickly and uncontrollably, warned West Bend, an insurance company carried by Dupaco Insurance Services.
“If it’s windy out, don’t start a fire,” Bemis said.
Location, location, location
Many cities have rules about how big your fire can be and where it must be located. For example: You might be required to keep your fire at least 15 feet away from any structure and not let it exceed 5 feet in height.
Know your location’s rules ahead of time. And remove nearby vegetation and combustibles before you use your fire pit.
Use the right equipment
Recreational fires typically must be in an approved container or fire pit. Burn only charcoal products or natural wood. And avoid burning processed woods, building materials, paper and yard waste.
Keep tabs on kids and pets
“When people use wood that’s not quite dry, it pops and sends embers outside the fire pit area, so always keep an eye on kids and animals,” Bemis said.
Keep a portable fire extinguisher, garden hose or sand and a shovel on hand for immediate use. Just in case.
Don’t move a fire pit or ashes too soon
Portable fire pits stay warm long after the embers burn out, which could lead to an unexpected fire.
Bemis knows from personal experience.
He recently emptied ashes from his fire pit into a bucket before disposing of them. The fire pit hadn’t been used in a week. Even so, the bucket quickly melted.
“Had I put them into a garbage bag and into the can alongside the house, this could have been a different story,” he said. “Who would have thought this would happen after a full week?”