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How to Control Your Campfire and Prevent it from Spreading

campfire-1031162_960_72011There are approximately 100,000 wildfires every year in the United States. While lighting strikes are a common cause of these wildfires, another cause is uncontrolled campfires. Campers who fail to take the necessary precautions to control their fire may inadvertently spark one of these hard-to-extinguish wildfires. So, how can you better control your campfire and prevent it from spreading?

Choose the Right Location

When choosing a location for your campfire, look to see where nearby trees and brush are located. Ideally, your campfire should be at least 10 feet away from flammable brush and plant life. A stray ember can easily travel to a nearby tree, sparking a major wildfire.

Use a Fire Ring

Setting up a fire ring around your campfire is a quick and easy way to keep it under control. In the most basic sense, a fire ring is nothing more than a circle of medium-sized rocks placed around the perimeter of the campfire. It’s sole purpose is to control the fire and prevent it from escaping. Depending on where you are camping, there may be existing fire rings left by other campers, which you can typically use to build your won campfire.

Dig a Hole

Even if you use a fire ring, you should still dig a small hole in the center to better control your campfire. It doesn’t have to be deep, as just a few inches is usually enough to keep the fire under control.

Consider the Wind

Both the speed and direction at which the wind is blowing can affect your ability to control your campfire. If you build your campfire downwind, and there’s brush a short distance further downwind, it could spread out of control. This is why most outdoor experts recommend building campfires against a natural windbreak, such as a ridge or large rock.

Keep Water Nearby

It’s a good idea to keep some water near your campfire. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen, but if your campfire spreads out of control, you can extinguish it by dousing the flames in water. And even if your campfire doesn’t spread, it’s a good idea to douse the flames and ash in water before leaving. Doing so gives you peace of mind knowing that it’s fully extinguished.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Why Does My Campfire Keep Going Out?

2440742452_f823970f98_zCan’t seem to keep your campfire lit? Whether you’re camping deep in the woods or right in your backyard, keeping your campfire lit is important for several reasons: it provides warmth, cooking fuel, a relaxing atmosphere, and it even repels insects like mosquitoes. The good news is that most campfires will stay lit without any additional work on your behalf. There are times, however, when an otherwise perfect campfire will go out. So, what causes a campfire to go out and how can you prevent it from happening?

It’s Not Getting Enough Air

Going back to the basics of fire-building 101, every campfire needs three things to stay lit: fuel (wood), heat and an oxidizing agent (air). Assuming you have wood in your campfire — and your campfire is burning — neither fuel nor heat are likely the problem. A lack of air, however, can certainly make it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night. This is why many outdoor survivalists recommend building a teepee-style campfire, which is characterized by an open center through which air flows.

The Wood is Wet

Another common reason why campfires go out is because the wood is wet. In order for wood to light — and stay lit — it needs to be dry. If it’s too dry, combustion won’t happen; thus, the campfire will likely go out. If you’re camping in an area where there’s little-to-no dry wood, consider bringing your own.

The Wood is Too Thick

When choosing wood for your campfire, select a combination of small, thin pieces, as well as larger, thicker pieces. If all of the wood is thick, it may struggle to ignite.

It’s Humid

Not surprisingly, the climate can affect whether or not a campfire stays lit. If it’s raining outside, the water will saturate your campfire and wood, causing the fire to go out. Even if it’s not raining, however, excessive humidity in the air can cause a campfire to go out. Humidity is defined as a measurement of moisture vapor in the air. Although you can’t see it, moisture vapor is all around us. When it’s particularly humid outside, the moisture vapor will saturate wood, making it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Reasons Why Your Patio Needs a Fire Pit

familyfirepit_fullA fire pit is a must-have accessory for any patio or outdoor living space. If you’re still on the fence, here are 6 reasons why you need one.

#1) Aesthetics

This alone should be reason enough to decorate your patio with a fire pit. Some people assume that fire pits are strictly functional, but in reality they offer aesthetic benefits as well. They fill your patio with a new visual element while helping to balance the color and design.

#2) It’s Relaxing

Decorating your patio with a fire pit will improve its aesthetics, setting the mood for a more relaxing, stress-free environment. Humans have been gathering around campfires since the dawn of mankind. Studies have shown that fires — whether a campfire or fire pit — have a naturally relaxing effect

#3) Easy to Move

Assuming you buy a portable fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit, you can easily move your fire pit. If you’re planning a vacation to a nearby park or the beach, for instance, you can pack up and bring your fire pit. And when you return, you can place it back on your patio.

Of course, not all fire pits are portable. Some fire pits are designed to be stationary, which ultimately restricts their utility.

#4) Provides Warmth Later in the Year

As summer comes to a close, many homeowners stop using their patio, preferring the warmth of their home instead. With a fire pit, however, you can keep your outdoor parties going later in the year. A well-made fire pit will provide a source of warmth for you, your family and friends. Whether it’s spring, summer fall or winter, you can enjoy your patio thanks to the fire pit.

#5) Keeps the Bugs Away

Mosquitoes can turn an otherwise pleasant evening into a nightmare. The good news is that a fire pit can keep these and other pests at bay. Smoke produced by a fire pit acts as a natural insect repellent, discouraging mosquitoes and other pests.

#6) It Doubles as a Grill

A fire pit even doubles as a grill, allowing homeowners to cook delicious food. Whether it’s burgers, steaks, chicken, pork chops, hot dogs, veggie kebabs, etc., you can cook just about anything on a fire pit.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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5 Tips for Starting a Campfire on the Beach

sea-1804591_960_72011What’s better than the relaxing ambiance of a campfire? A campfire on the beach. However, there are a few things you should know about starting a campfire on the beach.

Check the Rules

Before sparking your campfire, check to see if campfires are even allowed on the beach. Many beaches throughout the United States prohibit campfires, either for safety or environmental purposes. Others, however, have restrictions, such as using an existing fire ring or building the campfire a certain distance away from the water.

Create a Sand Pit

Assuming the beach doesn’t require campers to use an existing fire ring, consider building your campfire in a sand pit. One of the hurdles you’ll face when building a campfire on the beach is the wind. Whether you’re on the east coast or west, beaches have little-to-no protection from wind. By digging and using a sand pit, though, you’ll create a natural barrier of protection around your campfire.

Hurdle Around

Even with a sand pit, you may still struggle to get your campfire lit. If wind is a problem, have your group huddle around the campfire to create a wind-break of sorts. By using your bodies as shields, you’ll block the wind from reaching the fire, making it easier to start.

Look for Firewood

Of course, you’ll need plenty of firewood to keep your campfire burning. Again, some beaches have restrictions regarding what you can burn (e.g. no local firewood; must bring your own), so check beforehand. Assuming you are allowed to collect local firewood, look for driftwood that’s washed ashore. Driftwood is typically dry and hard, making it an ideal source of fuel for your campfire. Once you’ve lit some tinder and kindling, allow the heat to rise and ignite your driftwood.

Keep it Small

It’s a good idea to keep your beach campfire small. There’s no need to create a blazing bonfire on the beach, regardless of how many people with whom you are camping. Keep your campfire small to prevent disturbing the local wildlife and ecosystem. As your fire burns down, add more wood to keep it going. A rule of thumb is to keep your campfire no larger than three feet tall or three feet wide.

These are just a few tips to follow when building a campfire on the beach.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Campfire Safety Tips to Follow

fire-1748705_960_720No camping experience is complete without a campfire. In addition to allowing campers to cook food, it creates a social ambiance that’s more relaxing. However, you should follow a few basic safety tips when building a campfire.

#1) Check Restrictions

Depending on where you are camping, there may be restrictions on building campfires. Some national parks prohibit campfires when it’s particularly dry, while others require campers to build fires in existing fire rings. Always check to see what, if any, restrictions there are on building a campfire.

#2) Stack Firewood Upwind

If you plan on staying for a while, you may have some extra firewood — and that’s okay. However, you should store extra firewood upwind to reduce the chance of an incidental fire. If it’s stored downwind, a stray ember may ignite the firewood.

#3) Keep Your Campfire Small

There’s really no point in building a large, roaring campfire. On the contrary, doing so only increases the risk of a wildfire. You can cook food and create warmth using just a small campfire. And a small campfire doesn’t pose the same risk of damage and injury as a larger one.

#4) Don’t Burn Trash or Debris

Burning your trash may seem more convenient than bagging and carrying it with you, but this practice is frowned upon for several reasons: for starters, burning trash, especially plastic, releases toxic fumes into the air. Secondly, some trash won’t burn down 100%, meaning remnants will be left behind. The bottom line is that you should only burn firewood in your campfire, not trash or debris.

#5) Wet Ashes Before Leaving

Even if your campfire “looks” like it’s out, it’s a good idea to douse it with water before leaving your campsite. The ashes can store enough heat to spark a second fire for up to 24 hours. By pouring water over them, however, you’ll prevent this from happening, protecting the surrounding plant life and vegetation from a wildfire.

#6) Don’t Leave Campfire Unsupervised

I know this probably sounds like common sense, but it’s still worth mentioning that you should never leave a campfire burning unsupervised. According to National Geographic, more than 100,000 wildfires occur in the United States each year, burning some 4 to 5 million acres of land. Many of these wildfires are the result of unsupervised campfires.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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5 Hacks for Cooking Over a Campfire

pan-984007_960_720As any camper already knows, food just tastes better when it’s cooked in the wilderness. But cooking over a campfire poses some unique challenges, which can make it difficult to enjoy a meal. If you’re looking to improve your backwoods culinary skills, check out the following campfire cooking hacks.

#1) Marinate Meats

Rather than just tossing your meats in the cooler, try marinating them in sealed plastic bags with your preferred marinade sauce. Whether it’s steaks, chicken, pork chops, etc., marinating infuses the meat with additional juice and flavor, making it that much more enjoyable to eat.

#2) Avoid ‘Fatty’ Foods

What’s wrong with cooking fatty foods over a campfire? Well, the problem with fatty foods like pork loin is that they drip fat — and this fat can cause your campfire to flare up. If you’re going to cook fatty foods, use a skillet or pan to control the fat.

#3) Foil Packets

You should always bring a roll of aluminum foil when cooking over a campfire. Using foil, you can create pockets of your favorite foods and dishes. For instance, you can toss all of your vegetables into a single foil packet, after which you can place the packet over the campfire. This is a quick and easy way to cook multiple foods over a campfire. Best of all, everyone with whom you are camping can create and cook their own foil packet of food.

#4) Turn Often

Because campfires typically produce more heat than a traditional grill, you’ll need to turn your food often. Forgetting to turn your food will likely result in it getting burned. A little charred skin isn’t much of a concern, but it can quickly turn to ash if you aren’t careful. The bottom line is that you need to turn food often when cooking over a campfire, especially if the fire is roaring hot.

#5) Bring Oil

Be sure to bring olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil or some other type of cooking oil. In addition to pan-frying, you can use oil to coat the grate, preventing food from sticking to it. Simply brush a small amount of oil over the grate before cooking to create a non-stick surface. This prevents your food from sticking to the grate while also allowing for more even distribution of heat.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Tips on Using a Fire Pit in the Wind

fire-507693_960_720Mother nature isn’t always going to provide sunny clear skies with little-to-no wind. While strong winds typically don’t pose a concern, it can make it difficult to keep your fire pit burning. Before packing up and calling it a day, however, you should consider the following tips on how to use a fire pit in the wind.

Choose the Right Location

The right location can help protect your fire pit from the wind, allowing it to burn in otherwise not-so-ideal conditions. Assuming you have a portable fire pit, try moving it next to a windbreak, such as the side of your house or next to a wooded area. Natural and man-made structures such as these will block the wind, making it easier to keep your fire pit burning on a windy day. Just remember to keep your fire pit far enough away so that a stray ember doesn’t cause property damage.

Stand Around Your Fire Pit

If you don’t have access to a wind break, try standing around your fire pit to block the wind. If you have a couple buddies with you, you can create your own wind break of human bodies. This isn’t as effective as using a house for a wind break, but it can still help by slowing down the wind.

Block the Wind with a Tarp

If you have a tarp and some bungee cords on hand, you can try making your own wind break. First, identify the direction from which the wind is blowing. Next, stretch out the tarp and attach it to some nearby trees or structures using the bungee cords. Double-check the bungee cords to make sure they are secure, after which it should block the wind from reaching your fire pit.

Cover it With a Lid

Of course, another idea is to cover your fire pit with a lid. With a lid over your fire pit, wind won’t be able to reach the fire.  If you don’t have a lid for your fire pit, try using a grill lid. If it’s the same size — or about the same size — it should work just as well, blocking the wind from reaching the fire.

These are just a few tips to keep your fire pit burning on a windy day.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Fire Pit Maintenance Tips

36 on split rim

36 on split rimWith summer right around the corner, there’s no better time than the present to invest in a fire pit. A high-quality steel fire pit will allow you to enjoy the outdoors by hosting backyard parties with friends and family. However, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the following maintenance tips to preserve the look and integrity of your new fire pit.

Clean the Ash

Try to get into the habit of cleaning the ash out of your fire pit after using it. Allowing ash to settle and sit at the bottom promotes rust. The ash soaks up moisture vapor in the surrounding air, and this moisture reacts to the metal of the fire pit to create rust. You can prevent this from happening, however, by cleaning the ash out of your fire pit after using it. Just remember to wait until the ash has cooled, after which you can safely shovel it into a metal container.

Clean the Grate

In addition to shoveling out the ash, you should also clean your fire pit’s grate on a regular basis. Assuming you cook with your fire pit — as most people do — particles of food will become stuck to the grate. Using a wire grill brush, gently scrub the grate to remove these particles. If there’s any stubborn food that doesn’t seem to come off, add a small amount of soapy water to the brush. You can further prevent food from sticking to your fire pit grate by wiping the grate with vegetable or cooking oil before cooking.

Wipe it Down

It’s a good idea to wipe down the outside of your fire pit to clean any pollen and dust. While the presence of pollen isn’t going to affect the function of your fire pit, it can certainly affect its aesthetics. Thankfully, a quick wipe-down should eliminate particles such as this.

Cover it

Depending on where your fire pit is stored, you may need to cover it to protect against bad weather. Leaving your fire pit exposed to the rain or snow is never a good idea. Again, too much moisture can cause rust and corrosion, not to mention the fact that it turns any standing ash into a sludge-like mess. So, either move it under a covered area or purchase a separate “cover” to user over your fire pit.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/