Friendly fires: Tips to safely use a fire pit


Supervise fire pits whenever they are in use, especially when children are nearby.


Fire pits and chimeneas have become very popular and are widely available for sale at garden and home stores. As you gather friends and family around the fire, it is important to follow a few safety measures.

Please keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Check with your local municipality to determine if these devices are legal or whether a permit is required. Determine whether a cover is required for a fire pit.
  • Observe any burning bans or Red Flag warnings in your area, and comply with any ozone warnings that may be in place.
  • Place a chimenea or fire pit securely on a flat surface that is non-combustible. Do not place directly on a wooden surface.
  • Never use lighter fluid or other flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene.
  • Burn seasoned firewood. Do not burn trash, leaves, cardboard or plywood.
  • Avoid using in windy conditions.
  • Be sure any lit fire is attended. Chimeneas and fire pits get very hot and could present a hazard to both children and pets.
  • Place the chimenea or fire pit away from other materials that could catch fire, for example, tree branches, sheds and fences.
  • Always use a chimenea or fire pit outdoors. They are not designed for indoor use. In addition to the fire hazard they present, combustion creates carbon monoxide that can cause death or injury.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose handy, just in case.
  • Dispose of ash properly. Allow wood or coals to cool completely before disposal.
  • Prevent your kids from poking or playing with the fire or from throwing things into the fire.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

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