firepit near the camp

How to Put Out a Fire Pit Fire Safely and Effectively

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It doesn’t matter if you’re at a campsite or in your backyard, you must know how to put out a fire pit safely and effectively. It’s your duty and responsibility to ensure that once you’re done tending the fire, it is completely put out.

How to Put Out a Fire Pit Safely and Effectively

Putting out a fire at a campsite may be more difficult than putting out a fire in your backyard because you may not have access to a water hose or water supply to cool the fire. Because of this, we have made sure to include ways you can put out a fire pit safely and effectively when you don’t have water.

Method #1: Use a Water Hose

Using a water hose to put out your fire pit is the safest and most effective method you can use.

man using water hose in garden

Attach a spray nozzle to a water hose so that you can adjust the speed and force of the water coming from the hose. Turn the nozzle to a medium setting so that you have a strong spray coming from the hose. Spray the fire at the base of the fire pit to immediately cool the fire and soak the wood so that it doesn’t reignite. The ashes from the wood can move and produce steam so keep a distance between you and the fire pit while spraying.

Once the fire pit has been soaked from the water, use a rake or a shovel to spread the coals and expose any hot coals underneath that didn’t get soaked with water.

Change the setting of your nozzle to a lower setting, preferably a spray instead of a stream, and spray the entire fire with water. This should significantly cool the remainder of the fire pit and keep it from reigniting. If you can feel any heat coming from the perimeter of the fire pit, you should cover it with water again.

Continue raking the coals and ash and covering them with water until you no longer feel any heat coming from the fire pit.

Method #2: Use a Bucket of Water

While camping, you may only have a bucket of water that you can use to put out your fire pit, but one bucket of water won’t be enough to completely put out the fire. You’ll need to use a combination of raking and soaking to effectively put out your fire.

First, try to get the wood of the fire burned down to nothing but ash. This will help you put out the fire and keep it out.

Once the wood has burned down to small coals and ash, take a shovel or a rake and rake the coals and ash so that they’re no longer touching. When coals touch, they trap heat and can stay ignited. Spreading them out will make them lose heat and help them become extinguished faster.

Take your bucket of water and pour it over the coals and ash that has been spread out. This should cool the fire to the point that it doesn’t become reignited from hot embers underneath.

After the fire has been doused with water, rake the coals and ashes over each other to ensure they are completely covered. This will smother any ember from getting oxygen and potentially reigniting.

Method #3: Cover with Sand or Dirt

Using water to pour over the fire will both lower the temperature and smother the fire from getting oxygen, but you can achieve the same thing by covering the fire with sand or dirt. Covering the fire with sand or dirt will cut off the oxygen that fire needs in order to burn.

Just like dousing the fire with a bucket of water, you should let the fire burn down as much as possible before spreading the coals and ashes. Once the fire has burned down to small coals and ash, take a rake, shovel, or stick and spread them out so that they’re not touching.

Take a shovel full of dirt or sand and cover the fire, repeating as many times as needed to ensure the entire fire is covered. Take your shovel, rake, or stick and spread out the covered ashes and embers. Hold your hand over the fire pit to feel for any heat. If you feel any heat, cover the fire pit with additional sand or dirt. This should completely put out the fire.

Why You Should Always Put Out a Fire Pit

fire pit in the dark

Just because all of the wood has burned down to ash and there is no visible flame doesn’t mean that the fire is out. All it takes is one hot ember to touch a dry leave and you have a fire. Windy conditions only make putting out a fire pit that much more important. Wind can carry an ember and fuel a fire, triggering a forest fire within seconds.

You should always put out a fire pit when you’re not actively tending a fire. While it may have been difficult to start the fire to begin with and you don’t want to have to start a fire the next day, it’s imperative that you put the fire out at the end of each night. It is your responsibility as someone who has started a fire as it will keep both you and your neighbors around you safe.

Never leave your fire unattended, and never leave your fire pit if you haven’t put the fire completely out. You should be confident that your fire is completely out before you walk away.

Final Thoughts

When starting a fire, it is your responsibility to tend the fire as it’s burning and then put the fire out safely and effectively once you are finished. You should never leave your fire unattended. If you will be stepping away from your fire, you should put it out completely and then restart it when you return. This is the only way you can keep yourself and your neighbors safe.

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