Outdoor fire pits can be a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors in a cozy and comfortable setting. It is important to understand that, without the appropriate safety precautions, a fire can quickly become an uncontrollable inferno that can lead to damaged property and loss of life. Rental Managers must protect the property from damage and prevent injury to residents. These guidelines have been developed to facilitate the safe and environmentally sound use of fire pits.
Location Is Key
- Ensure the site for the fire pit is level and stable to reduce the likelihood of tipping.
- Keep fires 25 feet away from surrounding plants, buildings, or other combustible materials.
- The fuel load capacity of the containment area shall not exceed 3 feet in diameter or 2 feet in height.
- The fire pit must never be placed under a roof or in an enclosed space or under overhanging tree branches.
Fire Pit Set-Up
- Surround the fire pit with non-combustible materials such as crushed stone, brick, or sand.
- Outfit the fire pit with a fire screen and require its use.
- Position chairs so users can raise and move about without potentially falling into the pit. Built in seating prevents seats from being moved too close to the flames.
- Only natural firewood or commercial logs may be burned. Burning of tree trimmings, leaves, yard waste, paper, cardboard, garbage and similar rubbish is not permitted.
- Make sure all logs are less than three-quarters of the fire pit’s diameter.
- Provide adequate means to extinguish the fire:
- Dry Chemical 10 ABC Fire Extinguisher;
- Bucket of sand or water;
- Garden hose set to “spray” (a direct stream may spread sparks);
- Fire blankets.
- Provide residents with necessary tools such as pokers, tongs, and heat-resistant gloves and require their use.
- The use of gasoline, kerosene, or lighter fluid to start a fire should be strictly forbidden. Dry kindling such as paper should be used to start fires.
Safety/Environmental Requirements (continued)
- Fuel should be stored a minimum of 20 feet from the fire pit.
- Check the weather forecast and close the fire pit during times with high winds that could spread sparks.
Use and Clean Up
- A permit system should be developed by the management company in order to orient residents to safety and use requirements.
- Fire pits must be attended by an adult at all times during the use of the fire pit and until the fire is fully extinguished.
- The use of drugs or alcohol should be strictly forbidden in the fire pit area.
- Prior to leaving an active fire, the ashes should be spread out and allowed to cool. Water or sand should then be carefully poured over the ashes and the pit should be monitored in order to ensure the fire has been extinguished.