Getting Fired-Up for Summer Nights

When the day is done and the Summer sun sets over your pool, an evening relaxing by an outdoor fire is one well spent.  The opportunity for swimming may be past for the night, but there are endless opportunities to relax, stargaze, and spend time with friends and family by an outdoor fire.  Follow a few simple rules to ensure the night stays peaceful and the flames stay where you intended.

Choose a good lighting method.  Pouring gasoline onto a pile of wood and throwing down a lit match is NOT the way to go.  Use dry, untreated kindling, charcoal, or starter sticks/logs to start a controlled burn to ignite the wood.  Only burn dry, clean logs or other untreated natural wood.

Keep it simple.  Large fires may quickly become hard to control and dangerous, so surround your fire pit with rocks or bricks and keep the flame height down and away from buildings or other combustible materials.  Check local rules on open burning limits to see what is allowed in your area.

While you’re checking the burning limits, look into wind restrictions.  Wind can be dangerous due to its ability to spread sparks and flames very quickly, so there will be a prohibition on open fires once wind strength level reaches a certain point.  The most common level is anything over 10 mph.  At that point, it’s best to find another activity, even if you are not prohibited from doing so.

If it’s been dry, keep a source of water such as a garden hose nearby.  Your swimming pool doesn’t count!  If water is not easily accessible, bring along an appropriately-sized fire extinguisher.  This can be used in the event of an emergency or at the end of the night to put the fire out.  Fires can smolder for hours or days after they appear to “go out”, so don’t assume everything is out just because flames are no longer visible.  Be thorough to avoid a preventable accident from happening after you leave the area.

Finally, sit back and enjoy!  Make some smores, cook some hot dogs or brats, and enjoy the scene and company.

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