Before you light up your bonfire pit, keep in mind some key safety tips. You don’t want to get caught in a dangerous situation. Keep your home and your guests safe with these tips.
Follow the Rules
Before you decide to have a bonfire, check on the local regulations. Some cities don’t allow open flames even if they are in a bonfire pit. Others have specific requirements about having a water source nearby or keeping the fire a certain distance from structures. Make sure you follow your municipality’s restrictions so you don’t get a visit from law enforcement. Remember those rules are there to keep you and your neighbors safe.
Time It Right
Are you going through a drought? You might want to hold off on a bonfire. The dry vegetation in your yard is at a much higher risk of going up in flames if a stray spark lands on it. Wait until the drought passes before you hold a backyard bonfire.
Find the Right Spot
Just because your city doesn’t have restrictions on bonfire placement doesn’t mean you can put it anywhere. You’ll reduce the risk of a spreading fire if you keep the pit away from any structures or overhanging trees. If possible, put the bonfire pit over gravel, pavers or other non-flammable surfaces.
Keep Water Handy
You’ll also want a water source nearby in case the fire does move out of the bonfire pit. Make sure your hose is attached to the outside spigot. Keep the hose near the bonfire pit so you can grab it quickly if the flames get out of control.
Start It Safely
Be smart about starting a bonfire. Never use dangerous accelerants such as gasoline. They will get the fire started, but they are also very dangerous and could result in severe injury. Instead, use kindling and newspaper to get the flames started.
Watch Kids and Pets
Kids and pets don’t always understand the dangers of the open flames at a bonfire. Keep both away from the bonfire pit. Let the kids know they need to stay back a certain distance. Never leave kids or pets alone near the fire. If all of the adults need to go inside, take the kids and pets with you.
If you choose to roast marshmallows or hot dogs over the fire, you have additional safety concerns. Choose roasting sticks with long handles so no one has to get too close to the flames. Kids should always have an adult helping so they don’t get too close. Put the roasting sticks out of the way when done using them. If they are left on the ground, someone could step on the hot sticks.
Put It Out
When the fun is over, put the flames out safely. Hold off on adding new logs when you know you’re getting close to wrapping up the bonfire. Use water or sand to put out the flames. Leave the bonfire pit away from structures as it will still be hot and flames could flare up.