Consumer Reports: Fire pit fun and safety

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — Nothing says fall like gathering around a campfire. And with many people staying close to home and socially distancing, it’s not a surprise that online searches for fire pits have been twice as high compared to previous years.

But, before you break out the marshmallows, the folks at Consumer Reports said a few precautions can go a long way in creating safe and fun outdoor memories.

Gathering around a fire is the perfect summer into fall activity. It’s festive, fun and relatively inexpensive.

But, every year more than 5,000 people end up in the Emergency Room with fire pit or outdoor heater related injuries.

The experts at Consumer Reports share some fire pit safety tips to prevent those accidents from happening.

Raising your fire pit off the ground is ideal. But be sure to follow the maker’s instructions about how high it should be, and what surfaces can be underneath.

CR said different types of wood create different types of fires. Avoid softer woods like pine or cedar because they tend to smoke and spark.

Instead, choose woods that burn longer like hickory, oak or ash.

Once you’ve got a crackling fire, place a spark screen on top of the pit and keep a garden hose nearby to handle anything that gets out of control.

When it’s time to call it a night, spread out the coals, ash and any unburnt logs in the thinnest layer possible. Then, set your garden hose nozzle to a wide spray and saturate the area until the embers die.

CR said that, unless you’re too far away from a hose and there’s no alternative, never use a bucket of water to put out your fire.

Dumping water on a wood-burning fire forms a hard crust on top which can leave hot coals still burning underneath.


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