Backyard fire pits: How to protect yourself and your property

As fall approaches, fire pits are springing up in backyard across the Miami Valley. But they come with risks.

The outdoor wood-burning bowls may cause injuries or damage to your home if not used properly.

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According to safety experts, there are specific things you can do to stay safe — and keep children safe.

There were 19 burns treated at Dayton Children’s Hospital in the last year from open fires and fire pits. Most incidents were injuries to feet and hands, as well as the eyes from embers.

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Many area parents are considering the dangers.

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“I’m just not comfortable,” said Mary Knapke of Troy. “I think it’s not worth the risk if you’ve got little ones especially.” 

“You teach them about hot and cold early on,” said Lenae Sturgill of New Lebanon. “So you just [say] ‘this is fire. It’s pretty and it’s hot. It’s dangerous.’”

Washington Township Safety Educator Scott Henry showed News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray the safe way to use a fire pit.

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The fire should be kept to two feet by two feet. People should use a fire screen, not touch the metal and not get too close to the fire.

“They need to be in the yard, and the rule is that they need to be 25 feet away from a combustible structure,” said Henry.

There should also be a water source nearby, and people should wait at least overnight to throw out charred bits.

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Henry said that parents should keep an eye on children at all times near a fire pit, and don’t let them get too close or run near an open flame.

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