Can You Leave a Fire Pit Burning Overnight? (Why Not?)

The weather is perfect, and you’re looking forward to a relaxing evening in your backyard. Build a fire pit and sit back and enjoy while roasting marshmallows. You could even invite a few friends to join you. You’re ready to call it a night after a few hours.

Fire pits come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are both gas-powered and wood-burning fire pits available. It’s as simple as pressing a button to turn off a gas-powered fire pit. Your wood-burning fire pit may necessitate a whole different technique.

You’re tired and want to say your goodbyes to your friends. It can be very tempting to leave the fire pit unattended till the following day. You try to persuade yourself that pouring some water on the fire pit will also help.

But do you simply get up, walk away from your fire pit and let the fire pit burn overnight? Here are a few reasons why this might not be the best idea.

Is It Safe To Leave a Fire Pit Burning Overnight?

No, it is not safe. Leaving a fire pit burning can be a dangerous thing to do. Not only for property but your life and the lives of those around you.

Most states have guidelines that govern the use of fire pits. These rules govern the use of fire pits around private or public properties. Their concern is your safety and those of others.

It is illegal to leave a fire pit unattended, and you may be penalized in several places. As a result, the idea of leaving a fire pit unattended should never occur to you.

Fires are hard to control, so a tiny fireball can suddenly burn everything down within a second.

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Some states have banned lighting fire pits within a residential compound. Other states require the presence of readily available water nearby.

Can You Leave Embers Burning in the Fireplace?

It is not a good idea to leave embers burning in a fireplace. A small gust of wind can reignite the embers, and before you know it, there is a full-blown fire.

Don’t assume since there is no smoke; the fire has completely died down. Firepit embers can stay on for almost 12 hours. Before leaving the fire pit, make sure the embers have been extinguished.

There are several ways to extinguish the embers. You can use a bucket of sand or water. If you have a tap with running water nearby, use a garden hose with a nozzle spray setting. A direct stream of water can quickly spread sparks.

Why Shouldn’t You Leave a Fire Burning Overnight?

Leaving a fire blazing outside to keep the campsite warm or because you are too weary of putting it out is not a good idea. Here are the reasons why:

1. It’s illegal

Most states do not allow leaving fire pits unattended. Whether it’s in a public or private place, going against these laws will get you fined. If a vast fire occurs and happens to cause damage, you become liable. 

2. Local organizations may not approve

Apart from state or government laws, some local organizations like homeowners associations may not approve. You need to find out from your neighbors whether a fire pit is allowed in the first place. Find out if there are any rules against leaving a fire burning overnight.

3. Danger to your life and others

You can imagine the terror of being woken up by the fire that has already spread fiercely. It may be too late to stop it and can completely burn down houses and even the people inside. 

4. Causes Massive Destruction

Have you ever heard of bush fires? You will be surprised to know that most of those fires were caused by small unattended fires. See the massive destruction they cause. The same can happen to your property or neighbors property when you leave a fire burning overnight.

How To Use a Fire Pit Safely?

Before you decide to have a pit fire, you are advised to know how to use one safely. Not only will this prevent you from putting yourself in danger, but you will also protect the surroundings. Here are the steps you can follow:

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1. Select the right site

If you use a portable fire pit, make sure the ground is level. The site should be at least 10-20 feet away from anything that can catch fire.

2. Choose the appropriate fuel

When using wood, choose that which has been seasoned for at least six months. Unseasoned wood tends to produce more sparks which can easily ignite a fire where it lands. You should never use some materials as fuel, like construction materials or softwoods.

3. Have items that can quickly put off the fire

You need things you can use to deal with sparks. A bucket of water, sand, a garden hose attached to a tap. Fire gloves would be handy when handling the fire pit. If possible, invest in several fire blankets.

4. The sitting arrangement of people

You need to keep an eye on young kids, and don’t let them come too close to the fire. Seats should not be kept too close to the fire to avoid people coming falling in as they stand.

5. Check the weather conditions

Before deciding to have a fire pit, it would be good to know the kind of weather you are expecting to have. If the weather is windy, having a fire pit will not be wise. It can be tough to light a fire or control the get-away sparks when windy. When you have a wind speed of more than 5 miles per hour, then it’s too dangerous. 

6. Put out the fire once done

Depending on the fire pit you are using, make sure the fire is completely put off. Most fire pits have specific instructions on how to put them off. For example, you can’t put off a ceramic fire pit with water; it will crack.

Key takeaway: If you have a screen for your fire pit, use it. It keeps your embers and ashes from leaving the fire pit.

How Do You Correctly Put Fires Out in Your Fire Pit?

Items you will use to put off the fire should be nearby even before starting the fire. Why? So that you don’t leave your fire unattended to get them. Here are the steps you can follow to put off your fire correctly:

  1. An hour before leaving the site, stop adding fuel to the fire pit. Let the wood burn to ashes. If you don’t have an hour, remove the pieces of wood that are still burning with a shovel.
  1. While looking out for big pieces of wood, using a shovel or stick, spread out the remaining wood.
  1. Take a bucket of water and pour it all over the fire pit. Make sure to pour on the areas that are not burning red. Cover all the ashes, but be careful not to get scalded by the hot steam from the ashes. Only stop when the sizzling side is gone.
  2. Check the surrounding area to confirm no spark went astray.
  3. Use your hand to carefully touch the fire area to guarantee that the fire has been put off. The fire has not entirely been put off if you feel some heat. Pour water again.
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How To Safely Extinguish the Fire in the Fire Pit?

Ultimately, making sure your fire has been extinguished is very advisable. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where a fire pit you left later caused havoc.

Before leaving the fire pit, make sure the fire has been safely extinguished. One of the ways is to put the cold ashes in a metal bucket. Placing the ashes in the metal bucket will ensure they are genuinely extinguished and not start a fire. After a few days, you can throw the ashes into your compost.

You can also use a snuffer or a fire pit cover to extinguish your fire safely. A snuffer is a  metal lid that covers the mouth of your fire pit. Some are bought or have one made specifically for your fire pit. Snuffer prevents your fire from getting more oxygen, causing it to die eventually.

Gas-powered and electric pit fires are the easiest to extinguish fully. Cut off the fuel supply, and your fire is as good as extinguished. These two are advantageous because you can easily switch off the fuel sup with a button switch.

If you don’t have or want to use water, sand and dirt can also be good options. Cover your fire pit with sand or dirt, preventing the fire from getting oxygen. Sand also forms a good bed for your fire in the fire pit, at least the next time you want one.

Conclusion

Can you leave a fire pit burning overnight? No, that could be your worst mistake. An unattended fire can cause so much damage. It can lead to loss of life and damaged property.

About Stephanie Whitley

Stephanie is fond of doing all backyard-related work at her home. She loves to take sunbathe and do a barbecue in her free time. She often shares practical tips and friendly expert advice on everything relating to home and yard on this blog. When she is not writing, she goes camping with her husband and little kids.