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How To Put Out A Fire In A Fire Pit: Safe Guide For All Types

Putting out a fire in your fire pit is critical for good fire safety, no matter the design of your fire pit or the type of fuel you’re using. Here’s what you need to know to safely put out fires no matter what kind of fuel you’re using. 

how to put out fire pit

Putting out a fire in your fire pit is critical for good fire safety, no matter the design of your fire pit or the type of fuel you’re using. Here’s what you need to know to safely put out fires no matter what kind of fuel you’re using. 

How to put out a Fire in Wood Fire Pit  

Wood fires are some of the most common, but they can also be some of the biggest risks when it comes to accidentally starting other fires. That’s partly because it’s easy for hot coals and embers buried in the wood to escape when you’re putting out the fire, and because it only takes one wood spark to cause another fire. 

Here’s how to do it safely and completely: 

Putting Wood Fires With Water

1. Stop Adding Fuel

The first step is to stop adding fuel, usually 30 minutes to an hour before you want to extinguish the fire. This will help the fire cool naturally and also reduce the risk of sparks and flying embers.

2. Stir the Coals To Distribute the Heat

You don’t want to try and put out a fire by dousing it with a lot of water at once. Instead, spread things out to take up as much space in the bottom of the fire pit as possible. Spreading out the coals helps prevent heat concentration, and makes it easier for the water to fully extinguish. 

3. Slowly Pour Water Starting In The Coolest Areas

Pour water over the coals until they go completely dark. Start in cooler areas and work toward hot areas to prevent unnecessary sparks. 

4. Stir the Coals Again

Stir again to look for hidden glowing coals that are still hot. 

5. Douse All Glowing Coals With Water and Repeat

Douse everything with water again, and repeat the process until you’re sure every single coal is out. 

WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • Don't pour water over a roaring fire – it'll pop and spark dangerously. 
  • Don’t skip the stirring and spreading steps.
  • Don’t assume that small glowing coals are safe enough, they aren’t.
  • How To Put Out A Fire With Dirt Or Sand

    Pouring dirt or sand into a firepit to strangle a fire is another good option to extinguish them. It’s similar to putting out a wood fire with water, with one exception, you don’t want to stir the fire again immediately after adding the dirt or sand. 

    Instead, cover the coals with enough dirt or sand so you don’t see the glow and then wait at least ten minutes before stirring the fire to check for more coals. Repeat that process as needed until the fire is completely out. 

    WHAT NOT TO DO:

    • Don’t just add dirt and sand before spreading out the wood coals. 
    • Don’t assume that one layer of dirt or sand is enough. 
    • Don’t let small coals persist, even buried in the dirt or sand. All it takes is one spark to start a wildfire.

    How to Put Out a Fire in Propane Fire Pit 

    Propane is an efficient and effective fire fuel, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to go through some steps to extinguish the fire after you turn off the gas. Here’s what you need to do: 

    We don't need just generic instructions. Let's help people have the best fire pit experience, safely and efficiently.

    Advanced tips are more than appreciated.

    Cover different ignition system for propane fire pits in the first step

    1. Know What Ignition System Your Propane Fire Pit Has

    The first thing you need to know is what ignition system you have. Sparkers, hot wire, and standing pilots all have slightly different ways of heating the gas so that it ignites. 

    Hot wire or hot plates heat a small surface to ignition temperatures and then ignite the gas on contact. 

    Sparkers create a small spark that ignites the gas by striking flint and steel. This is also a common ignition system on gas grills and only works when triggered. 

    Pilot lights are a little less common, but use a small existing flame to ignite a bigger flame. These are less common on gas fire pits than water heaters, but it’s possible to have one. 

    If you have a pilot light, unlike on water heaters, you need to put this out first, before turning off the propane. 

    The other ignition systems don’t need special maintenance, but you will want to make sure hot wire or hot plate ignition systems cool off quickly when you turn off the gas. Make sure they are turned off before turning off the propane. 

    2. Turn Off The Propane

    The main step to turn off a gas fire pit is to close off the propane. The flames should go out immediately. 

    3. Wait For A Few Minutes (and Check for Propane Smells) 

    Don’t go inside right away. Watch to make sure the fire pit is cooling appropriately, and make sure there are no rotten egg smells from leaking gas. If you have leaking gas you may need to completely disconnect the propane from the pit to save gas and prevent accidental ignition. 

    4. Douse Any Added Fuels In The Pit

    If you have a gas fire pit that allows you to also use other fuels in the pit, you will need to douse those fuels, usually wood, according to best practice for that fuel. Usually in this situation you should also disconnect the propane tank from the fire pit to be on the safe side. 

    WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • Do Not Assume No Propane Means No Fire
  • Do Not Leave While Hot Wires Or Hot Plates Are Still Hot
  • Do Not Attempt To Put Out A Gas Flame With Water, Dirt, Or Sand.

    How to Put Out a Fire in Gas Fire Pit 

  • Natural gas and propane fire pits are generally similar in how they work but with one big exception. That's because propane usually uses stored propane in a tank, while natural gas fire pits are typically connected to a utility natural gas line. 

    The main difference for you is that you just need to turn off the gas. Assuming the gas is working properly, the fire will go out immediately and doesn’t need much additional care. 

    However, if you have lava rocks or fire glass in the fire pit for decoration, you will want to give those elements some time to cool before you put the protective lid back on the gas fire pit.

    This process is simpler than propane, but you should take the same precautions. Make sure you don’t smell gas after turning off the natural gas, and wait for everything to cool before leaving the fire pit unattended. 

    WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • Turn off natural gas fire pits and leave without ensuring proper shutdown. 
  • Do Not Leave Natural Gas Fire Pits Unattended.
  • Do Not Try To Extinguish A Natural Gas Fire By Doing Anything But Turning Off The Gas. 

  • How to Put Out a Fire in a Gel Fire Pit  

    Putting out a gel fire can seem impossible at first since you can’t remove the fuel when it’s actively burning. The good news is that this process is simpler than you think, as long as you’re using a fire pit designed for gel. 

    All you need to do to put out a gel fire is to put the lid on the fire pit long enough to suffocate the flames. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes in a well-designed pit, but it’s best to leave the lid on for at least 10-15 minutes before checking to ensure the fire is completely out, and the gel cools enough that it doesn’t reignite. 

    That’s it! Simple, right? 

    WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • Do Not Leave A Gel Fire Unattended. 
  • Do Not Attempt To Extinguish Gel Fires With Water, They Will Splatter And Spread. 
  • Do Not Leave The Fire Pit Before Both The Gel Can And The Pit Are Cool Enough To Touch. 
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