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Fire Pit Safety During the Winter Season

This is a guest post by Karen Ho Fatt. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

Not everyone hunkers down and hibernates during the winter. In fact, with backyard fire pit usage growing in popularity, more and more people are enjoying crisp winter evenings outdoors, in the comfort of their patio paradise. Along with this trend is the need for an increased awareness of residential fire safety in addition to the common sense steps taken when having a wintertime fire. Let’s take a moment to review fire pit safety during the winter season.

As with any outdoor fire, whether at a campground or in your backyard, careful attention should be paid to the surrounding foliage. During autumn, dried leaves and plant material can accumulate around the fire pit, providing quick burning fuel for a stray ember to ignite. Clear any dead vegetation to at least 10 feet from around the fire pit. This way, if you burn soft woods to create that wonderful crackle we all love, the popping embers won’t have anything to start a fire with.

You should also pay attention to the weather, besides the fact that it is cold outside and you just want to quickly make a fire to warm up. It may seem obvious but when it’s windy, even with just a subtle wind, wood burning fires tend to flare up very quickly. Hot embers fly and there isn’t much you can do when this happens should you have an open fire. If the winds are picking up, extinguish the fire immediately with water (a fire extinguisher or sand on hand to douse the fire will also work). Although some people don’t follow this preventive measure, it is really an essential to have a spark guard cover for wood burning models to keep the embers inside and most models that are purchased are accompanied by one.

If you have a gas powered fire pit, there are a few maintenance related items you should be concerned with before having your first fire of the winter:

1. Check the gas feed hose from the propane tank to the gas valve and ensure there are no cracks and that the hose connections are secure. If there is ANY sign of cracking, replace the hose immediately.

2. Turn on the propane gas valve at the tank and listen for any hissing. Even if you don’t hear a leak, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Propane has a distinctive rotten egg odor so if you smell anything like that, turn the valve off immediately and have a qualified repairman inspect your fire pit. Why take the chance?

3. If here are no leaks or smells, start the fire as you normally would and look at the flame. If it is very yellow in color or is burning unevenly, the burner is likely clogged. Turn off the gas and inspect the burner for debris which maybe plugging the burner holes. Clean and repeat this step.
By following just a few fire pit maintenance and safety tips along with general residential fire safety guidelines, you can enjoy a wonderful fire outdoors with friends and family. Why stay indoors during the winter when the warmth and allure of your fire pit awaits you?

Karen Ho Fatt is a professional interior designer. You can visit her website for the best outdoor fire pit reviews and advice on safely using and choosing fire bowls for your home.

Website Link: Family Fire Pit

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