How to Put Out Fire Pit? No Flames Left Behind!

November 30, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The best way to put out a fire is to let the fire die gradually until it runs out of fuel. If you have a gas fire pit then you simply turn off the gas and the flames will die down. You can also use water and sand to put out fire pits.

During cooler months, I get a fire going on my fire pit and enjoy the warmth of a wood fire as I cook up some sides and meat for the family. My Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Fire Pit is the centerpiece of my backyard and provides unmatched ambiance and warmth.

In this article, I will outline the ways to put out a fire pit effectively and safely. I will also explain which methods I would recommend and why. Let’s get into it.

how to put out fire pit

4 Ways to Put Out a Fire Pit Properly

Let the Fire Die Out

The easiest way to put out a fire pit is to let the fire die down on its own. About an hour before you are ready to leave the comfort of your backyard, stop adding more wood fuel and let what is already lit burn to ash.

To make this faster, use a poker to spread out the hot logs. This way, you will stoke the fire and expose a lot of the burning wood to air which will speed up the combustion of the remaining logs.

You can use water to put out the remaining embers if you do not wish to wait too long. This brings us to the next method.

Use Water

Using water is another effective way to put out a fire. Fetch your garden hose and just pour water on your backyard fire pit. Use a nozzle spray setting instead of a direct stream of cold water to prevent spreading sparks all over the yard. This could start a fire elsewhere such as on dried leaves.

This should extinguish the fire quite quickly. That said, if you are burning thick logs, they may retain a lot of thermal energy within them even after being doused in water.

When left out in the open, the logs could reignite so be certain to check whether the logs have completely gone out after about thirty minutes just to be on the safe side.

If the logs have reignited, pour more water on them to put them out. This should do the trick.

When using water to put out a fire, a lot of smoke, steam, and debris will get thrown into the air so make sure you are at a safe distance away from your fire to avoid sustaining burns and injuries.

You will also have quite the clean-up job afterward since water will soak into the ash forming a rather unpleasant sludge so if you can, put out a fire pit without water.

Using water will also damage your fire pit if it is made of metal. The thermal shock sustained by the hot metal will cool it too suddenly which could cause it to bend warp or crack. Over time, the continued use of cold water to put out your metal fire pit will leave you with a damaged fire pit forcing you to replace it.

A better way to put out a fire pit without water would be to use sand or dirt.

Burning Woods in a Fire Pit

Use Sand or Dirt

When using sand or dirt to put out a fire pit, you must give the hot logs some time to die down since this method does not work effectively on large fires. It would take too much dirt to put out a large blaze.

Spread out the logs using your poker allowing them to burn faster. Once you have fairly weak burning wood logs you can use the sand.

Using a shovel, grab some sand or dirt from your backyard and pour it over the fire. Make sure you cover all the lit embers with the sand. The idea is to deny the remaining lit areas any oxygen which is necessary for them to keep burning.

Let the sand sit over the embers until they are extinguished before you get started on the cleanup. I prefer this method over water since there is no wetness to deal with during cleanup. All you have to deal with is dry ash and sand which will be easy to collect and dispose of.

This method is also safe since it will not throw up all that dangerous steam and debris that could injure you.

Additionally, there will be no sparks flying around and therefore no danger of starting a fire in your compound.

Use a Snuffer

A snuffer is pretty straightforward. Simply place it over the flames and cut off the air supply. This will stop any further combustion but it will take a while for the burning logs under the snuffer to completely go out.

I should mention that a snuffer will only work if your fire pit only receives air from the top where the logs are exposed. If your outdoor fire pit exposes the wood to air from the sides of the pit then the snuffer will not work.

Safety Precautions When Using Fire Pits

Your outdoor fire pit may be an excellent companion for a cool evening but fire can cause untold damage within a short amount of time when it breaks free. You must always be prepared in case any such incident occurs.

Since we are discussing putting out a fire pit, let’s start with this;

Ensure the Fire is Out

As I have mentioned, embers can reignite even after being put out using water or dirt if they still hold intense amounts of residual heat. This is why you have to check on them later to ensure they are out. This minor inconvenience could spare you a world of trouble.

Thirty minutes to an hour later, check whether the remaining wood in your fire pit is out. Use your hand to be certain and if you cannot touch them or even get close, they are reigniting and will soon be burning wood instead of ash.

Spread them out to expose all the burning surfaces and pour water or sand over them again.

Fire Pit with Metal Lid

Keep Your Fire Pit Away From the Home and Flammable Items

I am willing to bet that your backyard has more than just a fire pit. If it is anything like mine, there are probably sitting areas, toys, a grill, a pool a swing, and so forth. Family, friends, and children are also enjoying the outdoors so it is a full house.

This is no place for an open blaze and yet we cannot do without the superb company of one. I have found the best strategy is to designate a specific spot for your backyard fire pit.

This spot should be far enough away from anything that can catch fire and cordoned off such that children and pets are not circling it beyond its boundary.

This way, the chances of tripping into the flames are eliminated.

The spot should also be a bit of a distance from the house entrance. This way, it is unlikely that anyone exiting the home will suddenly run into the fire pit before seeing it.

Avoid Fires in Windy Conditions

It is very tempting to light a fire when the breeze hits and threatens to chill you to the bone. A polite wind can help fan the fire and keep it going. Resist the temptation to fire up your fire pit if there is a wind going.

Winds can be unpredictable and you could be misreading what appears to be a manageable breeze. It does not take more than a moment gust to send sparks all over the place and start a blaze that could ravage your home and cause injury.

Moreover, putting out a fire in windy conditions is very difficult since the unruly flames have a surplus of oxygen from all directions making it difficult to control them. Once they latch on to fuel sources such as dry grass, the fence, and trees, you will have to call the fire department before it gets too dangerous.

This scenario applies to an open wood-burning fire but if you have a gas fire pit or a gel-fueled fire pit, you may be in luck. Many models can be fitted with a glass shield placed around the flames to prevent the wind from getting to the flames.

You will not get the full benefit and warmth of an open fire with this contraption but you can still enjoy a lovely outdoor ambiance.

Do Not Use Construction Materials As Fuel

Drywall, plywood, fibreboard, MDF, plastics, and wood-plastic composites among others can be leftover materials from construction work that you may be tempted to use as fuel for your fire pit. Do not use them.

These materials contain other materials such as thermoplastic resins to make them denser and stronger.

Burning them for fuel will release gases and substances that are unsafe for breathing not to mention the danger of burning substances that could explode.

You must also take into account the environmental impact of burning composite substances. There is just no upside. Buy firewood.

Burning Fire Logs on the Fire Pit


1. Can You Leave A Fire Pit Burning Overnight?

Absolutely not!

The fire may burn itself out but the risk is just as great that the fire could rage out of control if a rogue wind blows by. Falling leaves could start a fire while you sleep or an animal could tri into the fire causing an incident.

The possibility of a fire is real enough that no one should consider leaving a fire pit burning overnight.

2. How Do You Put Out a Fire Pit in an Emergency?

The key to putting out a fire in an emergency is to stay calm and act quickly.

As long as you are using a fire in any capacity, you should have fire extinguishing measures in place. A small backyard fire can be put out using a fire blanket or a fire extinguisher. You can also throw sand on the fire as soon as you notice the flames going out of control.

If your garden hose is nearby, quickly pour a direct stream of water over the flames to put them out.

If you are using a gas fire pit, water, and sand are out of the question. Power down the fire pit first by turning off the gas then throw a fire blanket or use the fire extinguisher on anything else that may have caught fire.

In Conclusion…

To put out a fire, you can let it burn out, douse it with water, throw sand or dirt on it, or use a snuffer until all the embers are extinguished. This works for a wood-burning fire pit.

Other fire pits may only need you to turn off the fuel source. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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