Updated 27 Aug, 2023
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As we know, fire pits can be a great addition to any backyard, providing warmth, light, and a gathering place for friends and family. But, it’s extremely important to consider how far to place fire pit from house to ensure that it’s safe and complies with your local fire pit regulations. In this article, we’ll discuss the factors to consider when deciding how close to your house you should place your outdoor fire pits.
Local council regulations
First, let’s talk about local regulations and fire pit safety. Many cities and towns in Australia have laws in place that regulate the use and placement of wood burning fire pits. These fire pit regulations may vary based on the size of the fire pit, the materials it is made of, and the distance it must be kept from structures and property lines. Be sure to check with your local fire department to make sure that there’s no restrictions around lighting backyard fire pits at that time of year. You don’t want a visit by authorities ruining your night.
Choosing the right fire pit
Next, consider the size and type of backyard fire pit you plan to use. Small, portable fire pits that burn wood or charcoal may be placed closer to your house than larger, permanent fire pits that use propane or natural gas. This is because smaller fire pits generally produce less heat and have a lower risk of starting a fire, especially if placed on paved surfaces or concrete. A custom flat-pack fire pit is a nice mix of both these styles, and available in a range of different designs, like these popular NRL logo fire pits.
Location is important
In terms of placement, it’s important to consider the materials and layout of your home and yard. If your house is made of flammable materials like, wood or vinyl siding, you’ll want to keep your fire pit farther away in a wide open space to reduce the risk of damage.
Similarly, if your yard is densely landscaped with flammable plants or has a lot of dry, dead foliage or overhanging branches, it’s best to keep your wood burning fire pit at a safe distance to prevent the spread of any accidental fires.
If you are camping, it’s even more important to keep your fire pit away from things that may catch light or be at risk of flying embers.
Around the fire pit
Of course, making sure the fire pit is well away from your home or other structures is important, but also making sure there’s now safety risk from other items around an open fire is critical. Low hanging tree branches, flammable fluids, fuel sources like fire pit fuel ( wood or charcoal etc ), propane fire pit bottles are all a potential fire hazard.
Keeping the ground clear of flammable stuff, like dry leaves, pine needles or wood shavings is a good idea. The intense heat from an open fire can easily ignite other flammable materials in your fire pit area. These can then continue to burn and cause a more serious issue to your house, a permanent fixture or other structure in your backyard.
Another factor to consider is the wind. If you live in an area with strong winds, you’ll want to position your backyard fire pit in a location that provides some shelter to reduce the risk of flying embers being carried away.
Reducing exposure to the wind will also reduce the amount of toxic fumes and smoke nuisance you cause to your neighbours. Especially important in residential areas where backyards are close together. Using proper seasoned wood will also help to reduce smoke problems from your backyard fire pit.
Before lighting your fire pit, check the intensity and wind direction and plan accordingly.
Fire pit distance?
In general, it’s best to keep your backyard fire pit at least 5 metres away from your house and any other structures. This will provide a safe buffer zone in case of any accidental fires or ember sparks. If you have a larger yard and your fire pit is farther away from your house, you may be able to reduce this distance slightly. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep your fire pit as far away as possible to ensure the safety of your home and family. After all, an enjoyable evening around your fire isn’t worth risking it all for.
It’s important to consider the distance to other structures and areas of activity when placing your backyard fire pits. If you have a pool or spa, for example, you’ll want to keep your fire pit a safe distance away to prevent any damage from heat. Similarly, if you have a children’s play area or a place where you frequently entertain, you’ll want to ensure that your outdoor fire pit is far enough away to avoid any potential accidents.
What can you do to make it even safer?
Making sure you have a reliable source of water nearby, such as a garden hose or large bucket of water is a great idea. Of course, if you have a fire extinguisher then that’s even better. Be sure to check it is in date and functioning before lighting your portable fire pit. In our experience, having a hose with a spray nozzle that can be turned off is a great way to save valuable seconds if the need arises. This way, you can keep the hose turned on and just use the nozzle when you need it.
It goes without saying, never leave your fire pit unattended. Sparks and embers from even the safest fire pit can stray and cause a real problem. In general, outdoor fires and open fire pits or fire bowls should always be attended, and when you leave a fire unattended ( especially in suburban areas ) you run the risk of property damage to your home or other buildings. Worse still, you don’t want any fire related injuries when trying to get the flames back under control.
Overall, it’s a bad situation when it gets out of hand, so ALWAYS keep an eye on your fire pit.
Be smart when it comes to fire pit safety.
To sum up, when deciding how close to your house you should place your fire pit, consider the size and type of fire pit, the materials and layout of your home and yard, the wind patterns in your area, and the distance away from other structures. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your fire pit safely and responsibly and reduce the risk of damage to your outdoor space.
Also, invest in a fire extinguisher. You’ll be glad you did if you ever need to use it.