You got the fire pit burning nicely and kept it going well enough for a lovely couple of hours — and now it’s time to head back inside. If you don’t understand how to put out a fire pit safely, you might just walk away and let it keep burning, right? Or just throw some water on it?
If you thought either of those was a good idea, this guide might give you some handy tips that might save you some heartache.
Learning how to put out a fire pit is nowhere near as complicated as starting one, but it’s every bit as essential to get it right. So here’s what you should know.
Never Leave A Fire Pit Unattended
Regardless of the fire danger level of your area, it is never a good idea to leave a fire pit unattended.
Even when the flames have died down, and only the embers remain, there is still the possibility of a flare-up starting a large fire.
It’s vital to ensure the fire is completely put out, embers and all, before walking away from your fire pit.
Follow Correct Procedures to Protect Your Fire Pit
So leaving it to burn isn’t an option — why not just chuck some water on it?
Your fire pit is made of metal. The metal expands when heated and contracts when cooled. Changing temperatures too rapidly — such as going from flaming hot to room temperature in a few seconds — can damage the metal. Rapid temperature changes can result in the fire pit warping or even cracking, rendering it pretty much useless.
So, what is the correct way to learn how to put out a fire pit safely?
Let the Wood Burn Out
About an hour or so before you plan to head inside, place your last log onto the fire pit. Do not add anything else after this — you want that wood to burn down by the time you want to head inside.
The goal here is for the fire to burn off most of the usable “fuel” in the log so that there’s no risk of something igniting and flaring up when you’re done. If you only let the log burn down a little, you run the risk of embers starting a new fire when you least expect it.
The simplest way to check if the fire is down is to touch some coal — if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave unattended.
That’s obviously not the safest method, so leave it for some time and move the coals around to check for embers. The pit should also be radiating a lot less heat.
Use a Shovel and Sand
Like we said above, you don’t want to be using water to douse your flames. The alternative?
Or if you don’t have sand handy, you can use some dirt from the garden.
You want to cover the embers and ensure they’re entirely smothered. But, unfortunately, this deprives them of oxygen and prevents them from burning any longer.
Spread out the coals and embers around the pit, and cover with your sand or dirt. Stir the sand and dirt around, checking for any more embers. Repeat as necessary.
Using sand or dirt will ensure that the embers die out without damaging your fire pit by dousing it with water. It also means you don’t end up with a face full of steam!
If you don’t have much of a yard to get sand or dirt from, hardware stores have bags of sand or dirt you can buy very affordably.
And yes, you could use your hands — but using a shovel gives you that little extra reach in case you kick up some embers while depositing the sand. But, again, the goal is to not set yourself on fire: distance helps.
Tidy Up Afterwards
To ensure the longevity of your fire pit, there are some basic aftercare instructions to follow.
Once the fire is definitely out:
• Remove ash and coal (you can deposit this into garden beds if you have one)
• Spray down the surface of the fire pit with cooking spray. Rub down with a soft cloth. This protects the surface from rusting.
You’ve now safely put out your fire and ensured your fire pit will be ready to go for a few more seasons to come!