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Family Roasting Marshmallows Over Backyard Fire Pit

Follow our top 5 prudent pit practices to keep your fire friendly

Photo by Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz/Getty Images

Seems that fire pits are, um, blazing hot: Sales have been up the past couple of years, and, in a recent poll, 67 percent of homeowners said they wanted an outdoor fire to keep parties going as the night air gets nippy. These tips will keep your friendly fire from becoming a raging inferno.

1. Find the right spot

Station your pit on a level stone, concrete, or brick surface that's at least 10 feet from your house, trees, and anything flammable. Unless the owner's manual says it's okay, don't put the pit on a grassy surface, wood deck, or enclosed porch.

2. Use good fuel

Always burn dry, seasoned wood that was cut at least six months earlier. To keep sparks from flying, make sure logs are no longer than three-quarters of the pit's diameter.

3. Start the flames safely

Never use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosone to light a fire.

4. Have a douser handy

Keep a bucket of sand, a fire extinguisher, or a garden hose nearby in case things get too hot to handle.

5. Snuff out flames

For more tips on safely quenching a fire at home, see Fire Safety