Monday, July 11, 2011

Outdoor Fire Pits

By Mark J. Donovan

Outdoor fire pits are great for enjoying the outdoors. During my recent vacation we gathered around our lake home’s outdoor fire pit just about every evening. Our particular fire pit sits at the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Most summer Friday and Saturday evenings my family and friends gather round it to watch the evening boaters and to look up at the night sky. Often we have a telescope handy to check out the Moon, Saturn, Venus and Mars.

An outdoor fire pit is easy to build. Years ago we constructed ours by simply digging a slightly recessed hole into the ground and encircling it with concrete pavers. It was about 3 feet in diameter. Recently we updated our outdoor fire pit construction by replacing the concrete pavers with elongated granite blocks that were placed vertically into the ground. Mortar was added in between the granite blocks to create a solid ring. Sandy soil was placed in the center of the outdoor fire pit to allow for good drainage.

Every year before using our outdoor fire pit we visit our local fire department office and pull a season permit for a campfire. It costs nothing and provides a little protection in the event of an accident. After 12 years of frequent summer use we’ve yet to ever have a safety issue with our outdoor fire permit. A few simple safety precautions, e.g. always dousing the fire completely out at the end of the evening, can go a long way in preventing accidents.

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