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How to Safely Extinguish a Fire Pit: the Essential Guide for Beginners (2023)

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how to put out a fire pitYou’ve built a cozy fire in your backyard fire pit, but now it’s time to call it a night. Don’t just walk away hoping it burns itself out – that’s an open invitation for disaster.

Take a few minutes to properly extinguish the fire. Let the flames die down and give the wood time to burn into ash and embers. Once it’s reduced, douse the fire thoroughly with water, stir the ash and embers, and check for any lingering sources of heat.

It’s important to put out a fire pit correctly so you can rest easy knowing there’s no risk of stray embers sparking up a dangerous blaze. With some basic preparation and a few simple precautions, you’ll master the art of safely extinguishing your fire pit.

Key Takeaways

  • Let the fire burn down for 30-45 minutes before extinguishing. Reduce it to ash and gray embers.
  • Stop adding logs at least 1 hour before extinguishing to prevent flare-ups.
  • Thoroughly douse the fire pit with water until it starts sizzling and the steam stops.
  • Before leaving, inspect the fire pit closely and check for any stray embers.

Safely Extinguishing a Fire Pit

Safely Extinguishing a Fire Pit
Before trying to put out your fire, let it burn down naturally for 30-45 minutes. Once it’s mostly embers, stand back and thoroughly douse the fire with a bucket of water or a garden hose on the spray setting.

Pour until all sizzling completely stops. Then, use a shovel to stir the wet ash and embers, checking for any remaining hot spots to hit with more water.

When the fire’s been doused, take time to closely inspect the fire pit and the surrounding area before leaving. And remember, don’t overdo it on the wood when you start the fire – stop adding fuel at least an hour before you plan to extinguish.

Let the Fire Burn Down

Stop chuckin’ wood in the pit an hour before ya aim to end the blaze, friend. Let ‘er gradually burn herself out afore dousin’ the coals, as patience is a virtue.

Ya gotta let the flames dance down to ashes n’ orange coals first. Then give thirty minutes more for the embers to be gray, not red hot. That’s when it’s safest to start dousin’ with the lawn bucket or portable pump. But use caution still – them coals’ll spit sparks as the water hits.

Then ya can prep for the next day, knowin’ it’s out proper.

Douse the Fire With Water

Stir the embers thoroughly after soaking them.

  1. Turn the hose sprayer on full blast and douse the pit repeatedly.
  2. Feel the ashes with bare hands to ensure no heat. Add more water if any warmth remains.
  3. After the last soak, stir the contents thoroughly with a shovel to expose any hidden embers.

Stand back as you douse the fire pit. The hissing steam from the soaking wood could cause burns if you’re too close. Don’t rest easy until those embers are cold and drowned. Play it safe. Your home and family are depending on you taking the right precautions.

Stir the Ash and Embers

After dousing the fire pit with water from a bucket or garden hose, use your hands to mix the ash and embers to check for any lingering heat. Carefully stir the ash and embers with a shovel or poker to expose any hidden hot spots.

Before completing this important safety check, thoroughly check for glowing embers or heat with your hands. If no water is available, sand can also smother nearby embers. Stirring helps prevent rekindling and ensures the safe extinguishing of your fire pit.

Check the Fire and Surroundings

Inspect the area thoroughly to ensure no hot embers linger before you call it a night.

  • Look around the fire pit for stray sparks.
  • Stir ashes again and feel for hidden hot spots.
  • Test the heat by placing hands near the pit.
  • Scan the yard to confirm no flying embers.
  • Re-check in 30 minutes for rekindling spots.

Don’t Go Overboard With Fuel

You’d be wise to stop adding logs and kindling long before you’re ready to extinguish the fire.

Pros Cons Tips
Prevents dangerous buildup of embers and heat. May need to add small logs later to keep fire going. Stop adding larger logs 1+ hours before putting out fire.
Allows fire to burn down and make dousing safer. Fire may die down too soon if stopped too early. Only add small kindling pieces to sustain fire 30-45 mins before extinguishing.
Helps prevent dangerous flare-ups when adding water. If stopped too soon, may need to restart fire. Let fire burn down to glowing coals and ash before dousing.

Avoid overloading the fire pit with excessive fuel right before putting it out. Letting the fire burn down naturally first makes extinguishing the fire pit safer.

Can You Leave a Fire Pit Burning Overnight?

Can You Leave a Fire Pit Burning Overnight
You should never leave a fire pit burning overnight unattended. Allowing embers to smolder while you sleep poses serious fire risks that can destroy property or lives. If you must keep a fire going, stay awake to monitor it, keep a fire extinguisher and water bucket nearby, and add wood cautiously to prevent flare-ups too close to seating areas.

Even still, it’s safest to fully extinguish the fire before turning in for the night.

Risks of Leaving a Fire Pit Burning Overnight

Leaving the fire burning overnight endangers your home.

  • Avoid smoke inhalation and possible loss of consciousness that prevents escape.
  • Monitor conditions closely for flare-ups that could spread to structures.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready to quickly extinguish escaped embers.
  • Keep a water source nearby to douse spreading flames immediately.
  • Properly dispose of ashes after fully extinguished to prevent rekindling.

The dangers of an unattended fire pit are clear. With simple precautions, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your fire pit safely.

Proper Safety Measures for Overnight Use

Ensure the fire is completely extinguished before turning in for the night. Install smoke detectors around the patio and walkways. Use nonflammable materials for paths near the pit. Keep the area well-lit with outdoor lighting.

Position security cameras to monitor the fire pit. Map escape routes from bedrooms in case embers reignite.

How to Put Out a Fire Pit Without Water

How to Put Out a Fire Pit Without Water
Before dousing your outdoor fire pit, allow the flames to burn down completely and wait for the coals to cool. Then, extinguish any remaining embers and heat using sand or dirt, a snuffer, or your hands – not water.

First, you can smother a wood or charcoal fire by scooping sand or dirt from around the pit edges.

For an enclosed fire bowl or permanent hardscaped pit, a snuffer is ideal to cut off the oxygen supply and extinguish the flames.

Lastly, simply turn off a gas fire pit valve and let the decorative features cool fully before putting on the cover.

Covering the Fire With Sand or Dirt

After the fire has completely burned down, pile on a large amount of dirt and sand to completely extinguish it. Use a shovel to cover the coals and embers with sand or dirt until no more smoke is visible.

Mix the materials thoroughly to ensure that there are no remaining hot spots. Once the fire pit has cooled down completely, remove the residue by shoveling it out. Afterward, inspect the empty fire pit for any damage that may require repair before relighting.

Using a Snuffer

You’ll snuff out the fire quickly by cutting off its oxygen supply with a snuffer lid.

  • Place the snuffer over the glowing coals, sealing the edges to trap and smother the remaining oxygen.
  • Snuffers are a fast, chemical-free option for safely extinguishing fire pits.
  • Clean the snuffer regularly by scraping off ash; check for cracks or damage before reuse.
  • For safety, always confirm that the fire is fully extinguished by feeling with your hand before leaving the fire pit.

Test that no embers remain before removing the snuffer.

Turning Off a Gas Fire Pit

Turn it off, genuinely. Snuffing that gas fire pit prevents accidental infernos from engulfing your humble abode. After powering down, allow ample time for the decorative media and emitter to fully cool prior to covering.

Gas requires special care – confirm valves are firmly closed, lines are clear of debris that could spark danger, tanks are safely disconnected and stowed. Residual heat lingers; gently check temperatures before touching. Malfunctioning valves can release gas or relight unexpectedly, so have your setup serviced annually.

Using a Fire Extinguisher (Last Resort)

If the situation calls for it, use the extinguisher as a last-ditch effort to snuff out those stubborn embers that just won’t die down. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the flames, not directly on them. Sweep the nozzle in a side-to-side motion for maximum coverage.

Be aware of chemical toxicity. Only use a fire extinguisher indoors if the fire is contained and you can safely exit. Improper aim and nozzle performance reduce effectiveness. Use an extinguisher appropriately and only when absolutely necessary.

Key Safety Tips for Putting Out a Fire Pit

Key Safety Tips for Putting Out a Fire Pit
When it comes time to extinguish your outdoor fire pit, you’ll want to stop adding wood or other fuel at least an hour before you plan to end the fire. Allow the flames to die down completely, then thoroughly douse the embers and coals with water or sand until all signs of heat have dissipated.

Don’t walk away until the fire is fully extinguished, as neglected embers can easily flare up again or float away to ignite elsewhere.

Stop Adding Fuel to the Fire

20 minutes before extinguishing the fire, cease contributing wood and fuel so that the embers turn gray instead of glowing red or orange. Once the flames have died down, use a shovel to stir the ashes and carefully spray water over the coals.

Wear gloves to test the heat and inspect closely for any remaining embers. Add more water until no smoke rises.

Properly Dousing the Fire

Douse those flames thoroughly until they are fully cooled, ensuring that no hot spots remain before calling it a night. Stand at a safe distance and soak the coals, embers, and ash completely with water.

Always test remnants with your hand after dousing to guarantee that the fire is completely out and safe before heading in for the night.

Testing for Remaining Heat

After soaking the fire, use your hands to check for any leftover hot spots before calling it a night. Even after drenching the fire pit, embers can still be hiding under the wood and ash. Don’t risk leaving them unattended. Give the pit a good stir and feel for warm spots after dousing.

Add more water until you’re sure no coals are left burning underground. Safety always comes first when putting out the fire under breeze conditions.

Not Leaving Embers Burning Unattended

You can’t walk away with embers still glowing; that’d risk a backyard blaze. Embers harbored overnight in a burning coals container spell danger. Establish firewatch rotation schedules. Position smoke alarms for night monitoring.

Secure an overnight protocol guide and fireproof storage bag. Better safe than sorry when dealing with an unpredictable fire.

Essential Tools and Equipment for Putting Out a Fire Pit

Essential Tools and Equipment for Putting Out a Fire Pit
You’ll want to have the right tools on hand before starting any fire pit to make sure you can properly extinguish it. A bucket or hose to douse remaining embers, a shovel for dirt or sand, and a safety kit with first aid and an extinguisher are absolute necessities when having an outdoor fire.

Being prepared with the proper equipment ahead of time will allow you to safely enjoy your fire pit and peacefully extinguish it when you’re done.

Required Fire Pit Safety Equipment

Having a fully-stocked fire pit safety kit nearby is an absolute must for safely extinguishing those raging infernos in your backyard.

  1. Long-handled shovel to stir and spread extinguished ashes.
  2. Garden hose or water bucket to douse remaining embers.
  3. Fire extinguisher in case of escaped flames.
  4. First aid kit for minor burns.
  5. Leather gloves to protect hands from heat.

Keep tools within quick reach day or night. Don’t leave the fire pit unattended until completely extinguished and cooled.

Recommended tools for safely extinguishing coals in fire pits without water include a shovel and dirt to smother remaining embers completely, ensuring no hot spots linger that could reignite and spread.

Keep fireproof gloves, extinguishers, ash-stirring sticks, and emergency contacts handy when monitoring dying coals. Equip your pit area with containment barriers against errant sparks. Take precautions like distancing yourself from smoke to prevent inhalation risks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should I let the fire burn down before trying to extinguish it?

Allow the fire to burn down naturally for 30 to 45 minutes before attempting to extinguish it. Adding water too soon can cause steam burns. Let the wood burn completely to ash and embers, which should become gray instead of glowing red or orange, for maximum safety.

Is it safe to use a fire extinguisher on a fire pit?

You can use a fire extinguisher on a fire pit, but it’s not recommended. Douse the fire completely with water first. Only use an extinguisher if the fire escapes the pit or as a backup in case the water doesn’t fully extinguish it.

What precautions should I take if I plan to leave my fire pit burning overnight?

You should never leave a fire pit burning overnight. The embers can easily reignite and start an uncontrolled fire.

Can I cover my fire pit with sand to put out the fire instead of water?

You can safely cover hot coals and embers with sand or dirt to extinguish a fire pit without using water. Make sure to stir and spread the sand thoroughly over all smoking areas until no heat remains. This method won’t damage or weaken metal fire pits like repeated heating and water can.

Is there anything I should do to maintain my fire pit after extinguishing the fire?

After extinguishing, let the fire pit cool completely, then inspect for damage and clean out the ash. Doing this maintenance helps ensure safe operation next time you use it. Check components like grates, dampers, and gas lines for issues before lighting another fire.


You’ve got this. Make fire safety your top priority, always. Extinguishing your fire pit properly takes a bit of know-how, but with some simple tips, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Let the fire burn down, douse it thoroughly with water, give those embers a good stir, and do a final safety check. Keep the right tools on hand. With a little care, you’ll master how to put out a fire pit safely each and every time.

So relax, stoke up that fire, and make some great memories – just be sure to douse those embers completely before calling it a night.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.