What Should I Burn in a Fire Pit? (Safety Guide)

Fire pits have become a beloved addition to outdoor spaces, casting a warm and inviting glow. As the sun sets and temperatures drop, gathering around a crackling fire is a timeless joy. But amid this enchantment, safety should always be the first flicker of concern.

In this guide, we’ll unravel what should and should not find its way into the pit. Read on to ensure your evenings are filled with warmth and laughter, not mishaps.

The Basics of Fire Pit Safety

BillyOh Phoenix 3 in 1 Square Metal Fire Pit, BBQ Grill and Ice Pit
BillyOh Phoenix 3 in 1 Square Metal Fire Pit, BBQ Grill and Ice Pit

Gathering around a crackling fire pit ring is a quintessential outdoor pastime. This experience offers warmth, ambience, and a sense of togetherness. However, the allure of flickering flames can sometimes overshadow t safety.

Thus, it’s crucial to understand and follow some fundamental safety guidelines. These precautions enhance your enjoyment and ensure your gatherings remain safe and incident-free.

1. Keep a safe distance

Always position your fire pit on a stable, non-flammable surface. Maintain a safe distance from any structures, trees, or flammable materials. This distance reduces the risk of accidental fires spreading beyond the pit.

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2. Have a fire extinguisher nearby

A fire extinguisher sits next to a grill

(Image Credit: Picryl)

Accidents can happen, so it’s wise to have a fire extinguisher within reach. Ensure you and your guests know how to use it in an emergency.

3. Supervise the fire

Never leave a burning fire pit unattended. Assign someone to be the designated fire watcher. This person will be responsible for keeping a watchful eye on the flames.

Safe Materials

Selecting the right materials for your fire pit BBQ ensures safety and efficiency. Let’s explore the primary categories of materials:

  • wood
  • charcoal
  • gas

With these options, you can make the best choice for your outdoor gatherings.

Timber types

Lit garden fire pit using wood

(Image Credit: Peakpx)

When it comes to wood, hardwoods like oak and maple are your best bet. These woods burn hot and clean, producing less smoke and residue. Avoid softwoods like pine, which can release harmful creosote and produce excessive sparks.

Seasoned wood, which has been properly dried, is ideal as it ignites faster. What’s more, it burns more evenly, providing a longer-lasting and safer fire.

Charcoal and briquettes

Beacon 3 in 1 Fire Pit, BBQ, & Star Tiled Coffee Table
Beacon 3 in 1 Fire Pit, BBQ, & Star Tiled Coffee Table

Charcoal and briquettes offer a controlled and consistent fire. They are particularly suitable for cooking over a pit of fire and charcoal BBQ UK. Use a chimney starter to light the charcoal. Make sure it’s evenly ignited before spreading it in the fire pit.

Note: Remember to use only charcoal designed for outdoor use. Some varieties may contain harmful additives.

Using gas

Gas Fire Pit Bowl
Gas Fire Pit Bowl

Same with gas BBQ UK, gas-powered fire pits offer convenience and control. They ignite instantly, produce no smoke, and can be adjusted to your desired flame height. However, it’s crucial to follow safety guidelines when using gas.

Ensure proper ventilation and check for gas leaks. Keep flammable materials away from the pit. Always turn off the gas source when the gas fire pit bowl is not in use, and never store propane tanks indoors.

What NOT to Burn

Knowing what not to burn is equally important. Ignoring these guidelines can lead to dangerous situations and harm to the environment. Here’s a list of materials that should never find their way into your BillyOh Phoenix Fire Pit:

  • Treated wood: This would release toxic chemicals that can be harmful when inhaled.
  • Plastics: The fumes from burning plastics are noxious and damaging to the environment.
  • Trash: Burning household garbage emits harmful pollutants into the air. This also contributes to air pollution.

Seasoned vs Green Wood

The choice between these two can significantly impact your fire pit experience:

Seasoned wood


(Image Credit: Flickr)

This wood has been dried for an extended period, typically for six months to a year. It’s ideal for fire pits because it burns hotter and cleaner. Moreover, it ignites more easily and evenly, ensuring a safer and more efficient fire.


Greenwood, on the other hand, is freshly cut and contains high moisture content. Burning it can be challenging, as it produces excessive smoke and sizzles. It can also create a weaker, less efficient fire. It’s not recommended for fire pit use due to safety and environmental concerns.

Opt for seasoned wood for a safer, more enjoyable, and sustainable approach.


As we wrap up this guide, one thing is clear: safety and responsible enjoyment go hand in hand. Beyond understanding safety guidelines, it’s also important to:

  • choose the right materials
  • know what not to burn

Enjoy your fire pit, and may your nights be filled with comfort and laughter!

Discover BillyOh for all your outdoor heating needs. Don’t miss out on our electric patio heaters UK and inflatable hot tubs.

For your next read: How to Safely Put Out a Fire Pit Flame