How Close Can You Sit Beside a Fire Pit? (Safely)


There is truly nothing like a nice, crackling fire pit to make a backyard feel cozy and peaceful. However, peaceful can turn to frightening and dangerous if you can’t answer the question: how much space do you need between a fire pit and seating?

The space needed between a fire pit and seating is determined by what kind of fire pit you have. If you have a gas-burning fire pit, seating should be 2 feet away, while seating around a wood-burning fire pit should be 3 feet away. 

There are many options to choose from when installing a fire pit, or even when selecting stylish and comfortable chairs for guests in your yard. Couple this with the danger an open flame presents, and the question can be daunting. 

For this reason, we will break this article down into two easy-to-read categories:

  • Why Safe Distance is Important For Fire Pit Seating
  • What Safe Distances Are For Different Types of Fire Pits

Once you’ve understood, from our research, the safest distance for any combination of chairs and fire pits, you’ll be able to confidently answer the question: how much space do you need between a fire pit and seating?

Why Safe Distance is Important For Fire Pit Seating

Fire needs fuel to survive, and if there’s anything Smoky Bear has taught us, fire doesn’t care what it burns up as long as it’s close and flammable! That includes lawn decorations, foliage, toys, and, sadly, people. 

Most often, a fire stays in a fire pit. After all, that is what the pit itself is for! However, sparks and embers from the fire can tend to pop when oxygen bubbles in the wood launch them away from the fire.

In this case, the flying sparks can land on improperly distanced seats and cause damage or injury, even if they do not start a new fire. 

The best way to ensure fire accidents don’t happen is to exercise caution and understand how close any object needs to be for a fire to turn dangerous. Fire pits are fun; sometimes, just having the correct coverage or a deep enough pit is enough to keep seats safe.

However, if you’re too far from the fire, you might have to ask yourself, what is the point of having a fire pit at all? This is especially true if your backyard gets chilly in the winter season and your love hanging out in the yard.

Luckily, there is a healthy balance to strike when planning your outdoor décor.

What Safe Distances Are For Different Types of Fire Pits

Once you have chosen a fire pit and are prepared to select seats, it is time to decide just how far away is too far, and how much is safe when arranging them around your fire.

There are many different types of fire pits and plenty of seats to choose from. Each of them comes with its own safety challenges. If you’re looking to be safe, it is crucial to see the differences between the seating and the fire pits!

Wood Fire Pits

Wood fire pits are toasty and exciting and have the added element of being engaging. Who doesn’t love stoking and tending to a fire, watching the different pieces of wood burn down to coals?

However, wood fire pits can be the most dangerous option when it comes to having a fire pit. This is because, out of the two possibilities, wood fires burn much hotter than gas fires. Not only that, but a wood fire has a fearsome unpredictability factor. Embers and sparks can be flung into contact with ill-placed chairs or benches.

Some types of wood burn much hotter or much more volatilely than others. Check if you have hardwood, which burns hotter and longer than softwood.

The advised distance between seats and a wood-burning fire is three feet. Make sure to measure the distance carefully so that you are safely far from the flames but close enough to enjoy their warmth!

Gas Fire Pits

The trendier and more sleek approach to fireplace is the gas-burning fire. It is beloved for its convenience and modern look.

A gas fire pit doesn’t seem to pose as much of a threat to patio or backyard seating when compared to wood fires. There are a few reasons for this.

One is because gas fires are usually just there to look nice. They have a clean, steady appearance compared to a popping and jumping, lively wood-burning fires. Not only that, but they don’t have to be maintained or tended to.

The other reason they don’t present too much danger to surrounding seating is the fact that they burn much lower than wood-burning fires in terms of heat. 

Still, you never know what might happen, especially in the great outdoors. Any flame should be treated with caution. Two feet is the recommended distance that seats should have between them and a gas-burning fire.

Don’t forget to check on the types of seating and their vulnerability to heat, too. For example, if you have a seat with cushions, remember that this makes them more prone to catching fire than metal chairs.

It is possible to have safe wooden seats, even near a wood-burning fire. Just be sure that your wooden seats are properly sealed or stained and remain three feet away from the fire!

Whether utilizing a gas-burning pit or a wood-burning pit, a safe distance is all that is between you and your enjoyment of an evening outside!

Summary

A marshmallow-roasting experience is only as fun as it is safe! Now that you understand the different types of fire and the level of danger they pose to different types of outdoor seating, you know the answer to the question: how much space do you need between a fire pit and seating?

Be sure that you maximize your enjoyment of your fire by staying no less than 3 feet away from wood-burning fire pits and 2 feet away from gas-burning fire pits.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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