As a crisp chill and the musky, earthy smell of changing leaves swirl in the air, hunkering down around the fire pit with a bag of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers becomes an appealing notion. And with the availability of safe and affordable patio fire pits, you don’t have to be a country dweller to enjoy the crackling of logs burning under the night sky. Modern fire pit models are fashioned from heat-resistant materials and offer a controlled space for an evening campfire.

Outdoor fires are undoubtedly a popular way to spend a cool autumn evening, but where there is fire, there is the potential for danger. That’s why it’s important to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of your friends, family and home. K-Factor Advocates has compiled a few tips to help keep your backyard fire from getting out of control.


When you’re deciding where to place your fire pit, make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from your house and any trees or other structures. Placing it too close to your home increases the potential of the flames infiltrating your home in the event the fire gets out of control. It’s also a good idea to notify your insurance company if you decide to purchase a fire pit to make sure it’s covered in the event of a fire damage insurance claim.


As you set up your fire pit, make sure you place it on a level, fire-resistant surface made of concrete, stone, brick or ceramic. You should never place a fire pit in an enclosed porch and should avoid wood decks or grassy surfaces. Use caution around overhanging trees and nearby brush, which could easily catch fire from flying sparks.


Never use lighter fluid or kerosene to start the fire, and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby to extinguish any flames that may get out of control. Avoid using composite wood or plywood for burning, as they can release toxic fumes. Soft woods such as pine and cedar should also be avoided, because they are prone to popping and throwing sparks. Instead, use seasoned wood that has been cut at least six months prior, and make sure the logs are cut no longer than three quarters of the fire pit’s diameter.


Keep children at least three feet away from the fire pit. Never leave them unattended by the blaze, and teach them the importance of fire safety. Consider a fire pit with a metal screen to help control rogue embers and flying sparks. Don’t light a fire in windy conditions.


When you’re done with your fire for the night, make sure it is properly extinguished before leaving the area. Dousing the fire with water is a quick and easy way to put out a blaze, but it’s not always recommended based on the materials your fire pit is composed of. Sand or dirt is another effective way to snuff out a fire and won’t compromise the structural integrity of metal fire pits. Be sure there are no embers left burning before going inside, as just one spark has the capability of igniting a backyard fire, which could lead to fire damage to your home as well. If you do experience a fire, contact K-Factor Advocates and we’ll help you file a fire damage insurance claim immediately to ensure your home and property is restored as quickly as possible.


K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

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