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Bonfire Season: Prep Your Backyard Fire Pit

09 August 2016

Fall season means bonfire season!

Now that the dog days of summer are nearing their end, bonfire season is almost here!  The upcoming fall season is a favorite for many Oklahomans and as the cool nights enter, so do the backyard fires.  At Leafguard®, we want you to maximize the bonfire season, so here are some tips on where to put your fire, how to build a simple pit and some safety tips.

Prep your backyard fire pit for cool summer nights.

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Check to see if it’s legal!

It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not breaking the law, so it’s probably a good idea to call your local fire department and ask.

Pick a location

This is important for two main reasons.  One: safety.  Two: you need to make sure that you pick a spot that will maximize everyone’s enjoyment.  Stay away from wide open areas that could be too exposed to the wind.  If possible, find a spot that is secluded enough where you are being safe, but gives you that backwoodsy-feel.  But of course, safety first.

  • 10 feet away from all property lines, including your house, garage or any other large combustible units (shed, tent, etc).
  • Do not position your fire under low-hanging branches or a canopy of any type. This includes powerlines.
  • Keep all your outdoor furniture at least 3 feet away from your fire.
  • If you are using a portable fire pit, do not put directly over grass or on your deck. Use stone or metal patio blocks to protect from the heat.

Build your fire pit

Depending on your set-up, specifically the space your have in your yard, you may decide to purchase a portable pit, build a permanent one or create a semi-temporary fire pit for the occasional bonfire.  Whatever the case, there are many options for you.  If you already have one, skip ahead to “prepping your fire”.  If you are interested in building a fire pit by yourself, here is a quick step-by-step guide.

  • Measure the pit (4’ to 5’ diameter).
  • Dig a hole 10” to 12” deep. Using your shovel slightly angle the side walls.
  • Fill your pit with lava rocks or sand.
  • Get yourself about 30 standard sized bricks and arrange them around your pit.
  • Shovel away the grass around the pit (10”-12”).
  • (optional) Find some large flat rocks and position around the pit.



Now that the hard work is over and your pit is ready to go, make sure you are prepared to build and maintain the bonfire your guests have been waiting for all summer.  No one wants to be the guy or gal who can’t get the fire started or is constantly at war with maintaining a flame.  So.  BE PREPARED.

Prepare extinguishing tools

Always prepare for the worst the burden of hosting a bonfire is that you are responsible for the safety of your guest.  So make sure you have at least one of these on the ready.

  • Hose with the water turned on.
  • Use a shovel and sand or dirt to smother any flame that may find its way out of the pit.
  • Fire extinguisher. Especially, if the hose doesn’t reach.
  • Bucket of water.


Gather tinder and kindling wood

A real firestarter DOES NOT use lighter fluid or gas, but builds that fire from the ground up.  You can use newspaper or other flammable paper products as tinder and then add some twigs  as kindling.  A few matches or a long handled lighter should do the trick to get that fire started!

Stock up on wood

While it seems like bonfire 101, make sure to stock up on your firewood.  Don’t be the one to run out of wood.  Just don’t…


Don’t ruin a good evening by forgetting to properly extinguish your fire.  There is a simple saying that will help you make sure the fire is out.  For good.


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