“Burning Down the House!”
Hey alright, fire pit season in Greater Tampa Bay is coming back! … Maybe?
If you’ve lived in Greater Tampa Bay long enough, you know how unpredictable the weather can be. We’ve had some disappointing “cold seasons” over the years where it really didn’t get cold much. But we always do get to enjoy at least a day or two of chilly weather every year that merits the use of a fire pit.
Gather Around the Pit
Yes, a fire pit in Florida may sound odd to our neighbors up north. However, they do come in handy even in Greater Tampa Bay. When the weather calls for it, an outdoor fire pit is a great way to have a social gathering, toast some marshmallows, “chill out” and grill out in the backyard, and make us Floridians feel warm and toasty inside and out. You know, when it actually gets cold enough to use one. Fire pits also give a home’s backyard a certain charm and an essence of cool just to have one when the weather is right for it. And unless you want to get really fancy and have a permanent one built into your yard, they’re also pretty inexpensive to own.
We’ll just come out and say it: it’s exciting to get to use a fire pit in Greater Tampa Bay! It’s sometimes a rare treat to get to use one here, especially when we get cheated out of our “Florida cold” winter and fall weather for much of the season.
With the excitement of actually getting to use a fire pit come the safety concerns (you know, like not setting your backyard or house on fire!). If you do get the burning pleasure of using one this year, here are some safety tips for you to keep in mind:
• Position your fire pit at least 10 feet away (preferably 25 feet) from any building and/or neighboring yard. Otherwise your fire pit could turn your property into a money pit!
• It’s called a pit for a reason, so make sure your fire pit is at least 6 inches deep at the center and 2 feet across to keep the flames contained.
• Never place a fire pit you intend to light under a covered porch or anywhere near low-hanging tree branches. Come on now, you should know this!
• Place your fire pit on a non-flammable surface such as on top of concrete blocks or a bed of rocks. Never use your fire pit on a wooden deck or directly on top of grass. … Seriously if you put a fire pit on a wooden deck, you shouldn’t be allowed to own one!
• Ensure your fire pit is proportional to the size of your yard. Small yard, big fire pit? … No. Just, no.
• Pile dirt or rocks around the pit to prevent any fire that makes it to the ground from spreading. Think of it as a moat to a flame.
• Move all flammable materials such as paper, cardboard and plants at least 5 feet away from your fire pit before lighting it to keep flames and floating embers from setting them ablaze. Embers are like fireflies, except their butts can actually light real fires!
• Don’t light a fire pit on a windy day and check wind direction before lighting the fire. Depending on the wind direction, remove anything flammable that would end up in the fire’s or its embers’ path. If the flames or the embers fly in a bad direction and set a tree or a wooden fence on fire, well: that would blow!
• Avoid using any flammable liquids such as gasoline and lighter fluid to light or relight a fire pit. Use only wood in your fire pit and light up with a fire starter stick or log instead. Burnt wood smells much better than fluid or gas anyway!
• Use a wire mesh cover or grill to keep embers from spreading and to keep children and pets from falling in. You don’t want Sparky the dog to live up to his name now, would you?
• Never leave a fire unattended. That means that if you’re all going inside to sing “Happy Birthday” or you’re leaving to go grab a beer from the cooler, make sure somebody is attending the pit at all times.
• Extinguish the fire with a bucket of sand or water (enough to drown it out) only after the fire has died down to small flames or burning ashes. Pat the ashes down with a shovel or other flat metal object even after they’re extinguished to make sure they’re completely out. Don’t be like that careless idiot who starts a wildfire by flicking a cigarette into the grass without putting it out first!
Finally, make sure your community allows open fires in the first place. Find out what the local fire laws and ordinances are for lighting fires, including size and space requirements, and abide by them. You don’t want the police or the fire department breaking up your fire pit fiesta now, do you?
So there you have it. If you’re going to use a fire pit, make sure you’re not going to be (sing it with us) “Burning down the House!” And if it gets cold enough out there to use a fire pit, you want to make sure you have a working indoor heater too. So give us a call at 813-609-5015 and let us check your heating system out for you!