How To Put Out A Fire Pit: Completely Extinguish With or Without Water

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How to Put Out a Fire Pit

A fire pit is an excellent addition to any backyard. Whether you’re using it to roast marshmallows, warm up on a cool night, or enjoy some fun time with family and friends, the fire pit is likely to be one of the most popular outdoor areas.

Although they’re a lot of fun, it’s critical to know how to put out a fire pit. Wood-burning fire pits are more common than the gas-powered varieties that can simply turn off. With a wood-burning fire, you’ll need to know how to extinguish a fire pit to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

We even have instructions on how to put out a fire pit without water so you can choose the best method for your specific fire pit and lifestyle.

The number of accidents related to fire pits has increased over the years, so this is something that needs to be taken seriously if you want to avoid the potential for injury.

Related: How To Start a Wood-Burning Fire Pit

How to Put Out a Fire Pit: General Precautions

Whenever lighting a fire pit in your backyard or on a camping trip, be sure to follow some basic rules to prevent injuries or unwanted accidents. A fire pit is usually combined with a party atmosphere, children running and drinks flowing freely, and an incident can occur easily so it is critical to know how to put out a fire pit correctly.

Here are a few general precautions to consider:

  1. Before using a fire pit, check with your insurance company about the fire pit’s requirement and disclosure in your policy. 
  2. Use safety gloves when working with the fire.
  3. Know what the weather may be like before lighting a fire pit. Avoid lighting fire in windy weather.
  4. It’s best to keep a garden hose nearby in case your fire gets out of control. Remember, do not use water if your fire pit contains an electric fire.
  5. Have a fire extinguisher with you.
  6. The fire should never be left unsupervised.

Now you know some basic precautions to keep in mind while using a fire pit. When the party’s over and it’s time for your guests to head home, it’s time to extinguish the fire.

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Related: Can You Put a Fire Pit on Grass? Answers to Your Safety Questions

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How to Extinguish a Fire Pit that is Wood-Burning at Home

Wood-burning fire pits are the most common type. They’re easy to use and firewood is relatively cheap and easily accessible (you may even have some in your yard already). To put out a wood-burning fire, here are some supplies you’ll need:

  1. A large bucket of water
  2. A shovel
  3. A metal bucket to hold the ashes
  4. A garden hose

Coal, embers, wood, and ashes can retain heat for prolonged periods. The safest fuel for wood-based fire pits is dry and seasoned sticks or logs of wood for the fire instead of chemically treated material. Properly control the fire and do not let it get out of control.

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Steps To Extinguish The Fire

Here are the steps for how to extinguish a fire pit safely.

1. Let It Die On Its Own

The simplest way to extinguish a fire is to let it die on its own. Let the fire burn all the wood into ash. Ensure that the fire pit doesn’t tip over as a cooling fire pit is as dangerous as one that’s currently burning.

2. Spread the Ashes

After the fire has burned out, the ashes will retain and continue to emit heat. It’s best to spread the ashes after the fire dies out. Spreading the ashes will cool them down faster.

3. Pour Water Over the Ashes

After you’ve spread all the ashes properly, slowly pour some water over them. While pouring water, steam will come off the ashes. Ensure that you maintain a proper distance from the ashes. This will cause the ashes to sizzle. Keep pouring water until the sizzling stops.

Note: If there’s too much smoke, wait a while and then try again. Also, make sure that you pour water over all ashes and embers, no matter what they look like (even if they look like they’re already extinguished).

4. Use A Shovel

Take a shovel and stir the wet ashes around. Make sure that all the remaining chunks of wood and embers are wet and extinguished.

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5. Inspection

To make sure that all the ashes have stopped emitting heat, hold your hands above them. If they emit too much heat, pour some water over them and stir them for some time.

Properly inspect the surroundings of the fire pit to make sure no embers or hot ashes are spread over the deck or the grass. Even a little bit of hot ash can cause a fire.

6. Storage

After inspection, use the shovel to store the ashes and embers in a metal bucket. Optionally, this residue can be used to fertilize your garden after a few days.  

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Here are a few additional tips for how to extinguish a fire pit that uses wood:

  1. When starting a fire, never use gasoline or kerosene to ignite it, as it may get out of control.
  2. Never leave the ashes sitting in the fire pit, as this will cause rust.
  3. Make sure to supervise any children or animals playing near the fire pit or stove.
  4. Ash logs emit heat for a long period of time, so you needn’t add more fuel for warmth.

Related: Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal?

How to Put Out a Fire Pit Without Water

Alternatively, there are also a few tricks on how to put out a fire pit without water, especially if you have no water accessible. These may be good options if you’re camping and there’s no hose or source of water nearby.

1. Use A Snuffer

A snuffer cover is an invaluable accessory for your fire pit. Try to invest in a heavy-duty metal lid that fits securely and properly over your fire pit when it’s time to extinguish the fire.

Heavy-duty metal lids limit and eliminate airflow to the dying embers, ensuring that the fire does not rekindle. The lids also prevent any rainwater from entering the fire pit. With an in-ground fire pit, a strong cover can keep animals and humans from accidentally falling into the fire pit.

A cone-shaped or domed lid is better than the flat-hinged versions that fold, as they defeat the whole purpose of the product by letting in air. It’s important to swiftly and quickly put on a snuffer to extinguish the fire, and that’s not easily done with the hinged versions that fold.

Metal or copper fire pit covers are excellent instruments in effectively putting out a fire pit. 

Here are the steps to put out a fire pit without water using a snuffer:

  1. After the fire has lowered in intensity or has died out, take the snuffer and cover the fire pit.
  2. Make sure that you use heat-resistant gloves or else you may burn yourself.                                    
  3. After the fire has died out and only embers remain, you can add water to the embers through the snuffer, if you have some water available (if not, it will still work, but not quite as fast).
  4. After the embers have cooled, use a shovel to stir the contents.

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2. Use Sand Or Dirt to Extinguish the Fire

Another way to know how to put out a fire pit without water is with sand or dirt. These items are readily available anywhere and can be used in case of emergencies or just when you don’t have water.

Sand is mainly used in fire pits to soak up heat and evenly distribute it throughout the pit. It also protects the metal bowl of your fire pit from the intense heat produced by the burning of wood.

Always keep a bucket of sand or dirt near the fire pit or in the garage where it can be easily accessible. It can come in handy at any moment. Fires cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. So, a bucket of sand can save someone’s life or their property at any moment.

Steps to extinguish the fire with sand or dirt:

  1. Buy a steel bucket to use exclusively for this purpose. Make sure it’s not used for anything else so it doesn’t get moved or disappear when you need it.
  2. Fill the bucket with dirt or sand. It doesn’t matter whether the dirt or sand is wet or dry.
  3. When ready to put the fire out, begin slowly shoveling the sand or dirt into the pit with a shovel. Ensure that you wear some protective gloves while shoveling.
  4. Ensure that all the contents of the pit are entirely covered. Please do not leave the fire unattended until you make sure it’s completely out.
  5. Stir the sand to make sure the fire is out and watch out for hot spots, as some heat may still be present.

Note: A buried fire in certain conditions can smolder and re-ignite. So, make sure to check that the fire is out by poking a stick into the sand. Sometimes, a buried fire can retain heat as high as 100 degrees even after 8 hours of it being covered.

3. Use a Fire Extinguisher (Emergency Only)

In case of an emergency, you should know how to use a fire extinguisher. Everyone should have a fire extinguisher in their home or on their property. An emergency can occur anytime when dealing with fire, so it’s best to know how to use a fire extinguisher.

The first thing to keep in mind is which type of fire extinguisher is needed. This depends on the type of fuel that ignited the fire. There are four categories that most household fires fall into. They include:

  • Class A: Fire based on solid combustibles like wood.
  • Class B: Fire based on flammable liquids like oil or petroleum.
  • Class C: Fire started from faulty wirings.
  • Class K: Fire based on cooking oils and greases.

So, the wood-burning fire pit’s fire falls in Class A, meaning it’s important that you have a Class A fire extinguisher in your home when maintaining a fire pit. Keep the extinguisher near the fire pit or in the garage.

Steps to use the fire extinguisher:

  1. Face the fire.
  2. Pull the pin of the fire extinguisher to break the tamper seal.
  3. Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher towards the base of the fire and not on the flames.
  4. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing solution.
  5. Sweep the extinguisher from side to side while aiming the extinguisher’s nozzle at the base of the fire.
  6. After doing this, make sure that the fire is extinguished. If not, spray more over the fire.

Always remember the word PASS: pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. It is crucial that you follow through and not make any mistakes when putting out a fire. The use of a fire extinguisher should be only in the case of an emergency.

Note: Never use one class extinguisher for any other kind of fire. For example, a Class B extinguisher should never be used with a wood fire.

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Related: Best Portable Fire Pits for the Yard and Beyond

How to Put Out a Gas Fire Pit    

Using a gas fire pit is much simpler than its wood-based counterpart. They are based on propane gas tanks and may contain decorative logs or coals. Nowadays, gas fire pits have become more and more popular with the advent of newer designs and styles, and with prices more comparable to the wood-burning variety.

They come in two types: natural gas and propane.

Natural Gas

A natural gas fire pit will use an odorless gas, which is mainly composed of methane. It will be attached to your home’s gas line, as natural gas can’t be stored in tanks. Make sure a professional installs the connection.

Using a natural gas fire pit will increase installation costs, but it will make things convenient for you as you will never run out of gas. Natural gas is also safer than propane, as it’s thinner than air. This means it will rise in case of a leak and won’t cause much damage if there’s a fire. 


Propane is a liquified petroleum gas that transforms back into a gas when released from its tank. A proper gas tank will be required for this, which usually weighs about 20 pounds, depending on the size.

Propane tanks should be stored outside in well-ventilated areas where the temperature does not fall below -40 degrees Fahrenheit or rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Never store them in your house.

Putting out a fire in a gas fire pit is easy and simple. All anyone needs to do is turn it off. That sounds simple, but you must take note of the decorative glass or rocks present near the fire pit. Ensure that you properly cool them down before you put the cover back on.

The materials used with gas fires usually won’t take too long to cool down. But make sure you wait until they’re cool enough to the touch. You can test this by placing your hand above the glass (do not touch it) or any other ornamental items. If they are putting off any heat, it’s best to wait for a few more minutes.

Never use water to extinguish a natural gas or propane fire pit, as it can cause damage to your fire pit and crack ceramic parts of the unit. In the case of an emergency, a dry-chemical fire extinguisher is the most useful.

The dry-chemical-based fire extinguisher should be available in time of crisis, so make sure to buy one and have it ready if you have a gas fire pit. Most of the fire extinguishers available on the market require an annual inspection to ensure they are fully operational. 

Note: Never leave the gas on when the fire pit is not in use, as it may cause an accidental ignition which may lead to injury or property damage.

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Can You Leave a Fire Pit Burning Through the Night?

An unattended fire pit poses many risks, so consider them if you want to keep it burning through the night. A gas or wood fire pit can cause lots of problems. There’s the danger of wild animals or your own pets tipping it over.

If it tips over and the embers come in contact with pine needles or dry wood, grass, or even your deck, it can lead to an uncontrolled fire. Even if the fire pit is fixed in the ground and won’t tip over, sparks from the embers can contact nearby kept fuel, leading to a fire. 

Plus, there’s always a chance that a child could come across the fire and get hurt since no one is overseeing it.

If for some reason you need to keep the fire burning, make sure that you clear the area around the pit and remove anything flammable. A good idea would be to wet the fire pit area to minimize fire risk and any damage that ejected sparks might cause. However, we strongly advise never leaving a fire pit to burn without supervision.

Related: The Best Gas Fire Pits For Your Backyard

How To Put Out A Fire Pit: Final Thoughts

Knowing how to put out a fire pit does not need to be overwhelming or cause any unnecessary stress in your life. After all, a fire pit is something you want to be able to sit back and enjoy!

Now that you know how to extinguish a fire pit with multiple methods you should feel confident to choose the best way for your fire pit set up and specific usage.

Not everyone wants to pour water into their fire pit, since it could leave a wet, damp area that can cause rust if left to sit for a period of time. So it is good to know how to put out a fire pit without water as well.

Enjoy your fire pit with your friends and family. Rest assured that you know how to properly put out the fire at the end of your time using it to keep everyone safe, as well as your yard and home.

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