Can You Leave Your Fire Burning Overnight?

We receive this question often, and if you don’t remember the public service announcements with Smokey Bear from the 80’s/90’s, you’re forgiven for not knowing the answer off-hand.

However, the truth is that you should never leave your fire burning overnight unattended. Not even the embers! This creates a major fire hazard and can cause property damage, injury, and even death.

With that being said, it’s okay to leave a fire burning overnight if someone is there to watch it. The chances of an accident in this case are sparse.

If you’re winding down the night but still have burning embers, you should make sure that they’re put out completely.

Steps to Put Out A Fire

Allow it to burn down

First, you’ll need to allow the remaining wood to burn down as much as possible. You can speed up the process by grouping them together and providing adequate airflow.

Once the embers have reduced in size, you’re free to go on to the next step.

Spread out the ashes

With the remaining embers and ashes, you’ll want to use a fire-proof tool to spread them out completely. This will allow them to stop combustion, letting them cool down.

Once the embers are reduced to a small orange glow, we can make sure they’re put out for good.

Soak them

Many folks write in with this question, so I’ll just go ahead and answer it. Yes, you can put out a fire pit fire by soaking it with water.

In fact, you want to cover all of the remaining ashes, embers, and fire byproducts with as much water as necessary. Start with the ones that are still glowing, but move clockwise around the fire pit surface.

You’ll know you’ve applied enough water when the following conditions are met:

  1. The sizzling sound from the burning embers stops.
  2. No remaining particles in the fire pit are still glowing.

Stir and stir again

After the remaining combustion stops, you need to grab a shovel or other similar tool and stir the wet ash many times. This helps spread the water over all particulate and seriously reduces the risk a fire will re-ignite.

Watch Out For Rust

If you have a metal fire pit, you have an extra step. You see, metal and water don’t tend to mix. It’s important to make sure that you rust proof your outdoor fire pit to avoid any nasty oxidation mishaps.

Not only that, but check the pit the next day for any lingering dampness. If the dampness exists, clean out the damp ashes.

Final Thoughts

Don’t get burned. When fire is involved, you can’t be too careful. And now, you should have everything you need to make sure you don’t leave your fire burning overnight!


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