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Backyard Recreational Fires – Safety & Info

backyard fire pit, webster nyWith summer on the horizon, many folks get their fireplace cleaned and ready for sinter and use this time to entertain family and friends in the backyard, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. Fire pits are another favorite popping up in backyards throughout Buffalo, Rochester, and Upstate New York. As a result, many homeowners are installing fire pits to create a warm and inviting outdoor experience in the evening.

Whether you are entertaining in your backyard or camping at an outdoor recreational area, these do’s, and don’ts will help keep you and your guests safe while gathering around backyard recreational fires.

DO Choose the Right Location for Your Backyard Fire

Choosing the right location is essential for fire pit safety. A backyard recreational fire must be at least ten feet away from combustible materials and structures like trees, shrubs, fences, sheds, carports, and your house. The further out, the better.

When building an outdoor fire, ensure the ground is level and watch out for tree stumps and roots. Underground root systems for mature trees can extend over 49 feet or more from their trunk. For example, the roots of a tall oak tree can extend for several miles.  A smoldering fire that makes contact with underground roots can re-ignite, causing nearby brush or other recreational area to catch fire.

DON’T Build a Backyard Recreational Fire When its Windy

Building a backyard fire when it’s windy is a fire hazard. It is too windy to make an outdoor fire if the wind is strong enough to sway trees. Strong winds can cause embers and flames to jump the fire pit endangering your guests, nearby homes, and structures.

DO Check Local Ordinances

Check with your city or county officials to determine if any local ordinances restrict or prohibit backyard fires or fire pits. If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association, you may need to check with them before building or installing a fire pit in your backyard.

DON’T Let Children or Pets Play Near an Outdoor Fire

Just as with a fireplace fire, when gathering around a backyard fire pit, keep children and pets at a safe distance of at least three feet away from the flames.  If they get too close to the fire, they can get accidentally burned from flying sparks or hot embers. Also, always make sure children and pets are supervised and are not left alone at the fire pit.

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DO Burn Seasoned (Dried) Wood

Only burn wood that has been seasoned or dried for six to twelve months. The lower moisture content in seasoned wood will produce a hotter and longer-lasting fire with less smoke and pollution. Don’t toss furniture, magazines, and other objects into a fire. The coatings and finishes on many materials can cause inhalation of toxic vapors that can be harmful to your health.

DON’T Use Lighter Fluid to Start a Backyard Fire

Using lighter fluid to start a fire in the fire pit is dangerous. Instead, build a fire safely with tinder and kindle. Or put your kindling on top of a fire starter stick and light the kindling with a match. Fire sticks are commercially available at local hardware retailers.

Call Felgemacher Masonry Chimney

While enjoying your outdoor recreational fires, it’s important to make sure you tend to your indoor fireplaces by scheduling your chimney inspection by one of our Certified Chimney Sweeps!