Steps for extinguishing a fire pit
Unless you have a gas-powered fire pit, most fire pits don’t magically extinguish the moment you want the fire gone. So to help you successfully put out an outdoor fire pit, we’ve outlined the necessary steps below.
1. Stop adding fuel to your fire
The first step to easily putting out your fire pit takes a little forethought. About an hour or so before you plan to extinguish your fire, stop adding in wood or any other fuel you may be using to keep it going.
If you happen to be using a commercial fire log or firestarter, remove it from the rest of your fuel by placing it to the side of your pit. Keep in mind that you should not remove the fire log from the pit itself, but just keep it away from the rest of the fire. Once you’ve removed the fire log, smother it in ash to stop it from burning.
Quick tip: Spread out each log so they’re not touching. This will help them burn faster.
2. Let the fire burn down
Now that you’ve stopped adding fuel to the fire, allow the fire to burn down on its own. This reduces the amount of flames you’ll need to extinguish later. Even though you’ve stopped adding fuel, it can be helpful to speed up the burning process yourself by clearing away ash with a shovel or stick.
Be careful not to flick embers from the fire onto your surroundings and don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Remember that even if a piece of wood or coal isn’t glowing red, it may still be very hot. Ideally, the fire will have burned down to ash before you move to the next step.
Quick tip: Allow the fire to burn for 30-45 more minutes before you try to put it out.
3. Douse the remaining fire with water
When you’re ready to extinguish your fire, you can do so with a bucket of water or garden hose. If you choose to use a hose, set your nozzle to a shower or spray setting, because a direct jet of water could create sparks. While you douse the fire with water, remember to stand a good distance away from the flames. Heat from the fire will turn the water to scalding hot steam that can burn you or anyone else nearby.
As you pour water on the flames, you may hear sputtering or sizzling sounds. You’ll want to keep adding water until these sounds have stopped entirely. Take care to cover every bit of ash in water as well, even if it isn’t red or glowing.
Quick tip: Have two buckets of water on hand so you don’t have to wait to fill another if you need it.
4. Stir the ash and embers
Once your fire is soaked with water, the next step will be to stir the ash and embers with a poker or shovel. You’ll want to inspect it closely to ensure that everything is soaked. If you see any steam or hear any hot spots, you can always add more water to completely put it out.
Quick tip: Use a stick if you don’t have a poker or shovel.
5. Check the fire and your surroundings
Before moving on, it’s important to check your fire pit for heat. Make sure everything has cooled off entirely. Plan to dedicate an adequate amount of time to checking that the fire is extinguished because rushing through this step could mean missed embers.
Everything should be cool to the touch before you leave it alone, but use caution when checking. After you’ve made sure that everything is fully extinguished, it’s time to check your surroundings for any debris that may have escaped the fire pit. Survey the area around the pit for ash, sparks or embers that might need to be put out.
Quick tip: Clean up the cooled ashes so your pit doesn’t rust.