Outdoor Fire Tips
The fire restrictions are lifted and it is certainly chilly outside! Cue the Kiwi desire to huddle around an outdoor fire setting with a cold beverage and a marshmallow or two. The Firewood Company looks at the best wood to burn, how to keep safe, and the importance of a good old fashion s’more!
As winter kicks into full swing, the desire to entertain outside certainly dwindles. But with the popularity of outdoor fires, pizza ovens, and braziers the desire to rug up and huddle around an outdoor fire source soars.
When it comes to your outdoor fire setting it’s important to get prepared. Seasoned dry wood is just as important on your outdoor fire as it is on your cosy indoor wood burner. Having wet green wood will produce ample smoke, which is certainly not desirable in an open fire setting. With no chimney you’ll be inundated with plumes of heavy smoke, that could be unbearable for you and your guests.
#TopTip; As tempting as it seems, using green garden rubbish on your fire will not create a good environment to relax in. If you are wanting to burn off any green bushes or garden waste, it’s best to do this when you are not intending on using the fire for entertainment purposes.
A good selection of hard and soft wood is the best way to go. Softwoods to get the fire burning and a good bed of embers, and hardwoods to give that long-lasting warmth and burn with little smoke. Make sure your wood is nice and dry and well-seasoned. Chopping smaller amounts and having them easily accessible to top up the fire is also recommended.
With outdoor fires, regardless of the season, it is imperative you keep safe. Fires can quickly get out of control so having a solid safety plan is important. Tips include:
Have a good water source on-site that is easily accessible just in case something does go wrong. Use the spray on a hose – and not the stream that can spread a fire, or keep buckets of water on hand.
Take your time lighting your fire, by using kindling, paper, or pinecones, and never use any ignitions such as petrol or diesel. If you are needing some extra help with the fire, consider using firelighters.
Always ensure the fire is completely out before leaving.
Educate children to stay back from the fire and never leave any child unattended around an open flame. Ensure they stay three feet away at all times and use firepit guards.
Never leave a fire unattended.
Do not light fires in heavy wind regardless of if it is cold or wet.
Discourage anyone from throwing logs onto the fire. Placing them gently can prevent burns from embers to your guests.
Location Location Location
It’s also a good idea to really consider the location of your fire. Understandably some fires are fixed (think pizza ovens), but if you are utilising a brazier or fire pit – or building your own, there are some things to consider when it comes to the location of your firepit.
Check for any overhanging trees or combustible materials and clear the area of leaves, branches, and other garden debris. It’s not just about looking out, but also important to look up! Embers can travel high and quickly. It’s also advised to keep your fire at least five metres from any combustible material or building. With portable firepits and braziers, it’s recommended to only place these on natural surfaces and not on wooden decks.
Now that you have a good safety plan in place, the perfect wood to burn, and the location has been carefully sorted, you are ready to relax with some good company and a dash of s’mores. Consider using those wonderfully designed BBQ marshmallows for a truly indulgent experience, a pack of thin chocolate-coated biscuits, and a good amount of bamboo skewers (don’t forget to soak them in a little water beforehand).