Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher on a Fire Pit? Beware!

Person holding a fire extinguisher and spraying a fire pit in the outdoors

You’ve just come to the end of a great evening around the fire pit, but the fire is still burning well. When it’s time to put it out, there is a range of options available to you. However, you may think, “I have a fire extinguisher right here. Isn’t that what they’re for?” 

You can use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire pit, but it’s not the best idea. Fire extinguishers are made for emergency use and can cause problems in releasing all the freezing liquid inside the extinguisher. 

Luckily, there are many other ways to put out your fire pit besides just using an extinguisher. Today, we’ll look at what happens when you extinguish a fire with a fire extinguisher and then at some other ways you can go about extinguishing your firepit. 

How To Put Out a Fire Pit With a Fire Extinguisher

If you’re curious about how to put out a fire pit with a fire extinguisher, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started with how you can go about doing this.

Putting out a fire pit with an extinguisher isn’t really any different than putting out an emergency fire with an extinguisher. The process still looks relatively similar, but additional concerns with putting out a fire pit. 

One of the biggest concerns is that fire extinguishers contain freezing liquid that puts out the fire. The type of liquid used varies from extinguisher to extinguisher, but they all work to suck the oxygen out of the fire completely. 

If this liquid contacts your skin, it can cause severe chemical burns. The liquid also sprays out with an alarming pressure and amount. This further increases the risk of being splashed by the chemicals from the back spray off the extinguisher.

In addition, fire extinguishers are expensive – primarily because they are built for one-time emergencies. This can reduce costs if you’re using them to extinguish a fire. 

Alright, now that we’ve discussed the risks, let’s look at how you extinguish a fire pit with an extinguisher.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

close up of a hand removing the safety pin from a fire extinguisher to use it on a fire pit

You can always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on every fire extinguisher, but if you need a quick overview, check out the P.A.S.S. instructions below:

  1. Pull the pin to break the tamper seal.
  2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. With the firepit, this would be inside the firepit container near the edges of it. 
  3. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  4. Sweep the extinguishing agent from side to side along the base of the fire until the fire is gone. 

Simple enough, right? Here are a few things to be aware of when using the extinguisher. 

  • Ensure you do not touch the horn of the CO2 extinguisher. This goes back to what we were talking about previously about chemical burns. 
  • Be sure and monitor the area for a few minutes after putting out the fire. Occasionally, fires can come back after you think it’s been extinguished.
  • Be sure and aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire rather than in the center. I put this in the instructions, but it can be challenging to reach the extinguisher inside the firepit to reach the base of the fire.

How To Extinguish a Fire Pit Without a Fire Extinguisher

Now that we’ve discussed how to put out a fire pit with a fire extinguisher, let’s go over some other ways you can put it out.

Stop Putting Fuel in Your Fire

If you have time to spare and see that the night is winding down, the best option may be to simply stop adding fuel to your fire. Fires will naturally die out on their own if they don’t have anything to continue to feed on.

It should take about an hour for the fire to die down to safe levels. Afterward, you can extinguish the hot coals with sand, water, or ash to smother them. 

Throw Water on the Fire

Water works best with other methods if the fire is more significant. It’s best to allow the fire to die out first; otherwise, you’ll use significantly more water than you were expecting. 

To put out your fire pit with water, simply gather and toss a large bucket of water onto the fire. A word of caution – if the fire pit is completely enclosed, the water will remain in the pit until it is dumped. If you want to avoid this, it’s best to use another method. 

However, this can be an excellent method if the fire pit has holes in the bottom for water to run through. 

Cover the Fire With Sand or Dirt

You don’t need water to put out a fire. In fact, sand or dirt works just as well, if not better, than water does at extinguishing the flames. This is because very little oxygen can get through the heavy layer of dirt.

Of course, this method makes more of a mess than water or letting the fire pit die. However, it’s easy to extinguish the fire since there is always dirt around. 

If, for whatever reason, you find that you don’t have enough dirt on hand, you can also use ash leftovers from the fire. This will work equally as well as covering it with sand or dirt. 

This method is preferable when you have a metal fire pit, as it’s typically easier to clean up. Simply pick up the fire pit and dump it once everything has cooled down. The extra dirt will also help push the ashes into the ground for further decomposition after dumping. 

Use a Snuffer

If you have a more advanced fire pit, you can also use a snuffer to get rid of it. Some of the newer fire pits come with a snuffer. However, one can easily be made.

A snuffer cuts off oxygen from the fire. You can use a lid, bowl, or something similar. This is the same process that happens if you screw the lid of a candle mid-burn. Be aware, however, that it can take slightly longer to use a snuffer than it would for a candle. 

Final Thoughts

The best option is to let the fire die down and then toss a bit of water or sand on top of it. However, you can use a fire extinguisher if necessary. Caution should be used if you choose an extinguisher since it contains dangerous chemicals that can cause burns.

Remember, fire extinguishers are designed to be used only in emergencies, so they come with their own risks. 

Whatever method you choose, be sure your fire pit is burned out before leaving it.

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