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Which Materials Should You Avoid Burning in a Portable Fire Pit?

November 17, 2022 3 min read

Our backyard is where we relax, host parties and connect with family. As the cooler weather begins to spread and we continue to look for ways to gather outside a safe social distance, the idea of an outdoor fire pit appeals to many homeowners. It makes for a more festive evening any time of the year and can create a welcoming place to gather in your backyard. However, many people tend to light their portable fire pit by throwing other items and belongings they have around the garage or yard right into it. This is definitely a mistake and can be a major safety hazard. Therefore, you should be aware that there are certain materials that you should not be burning in your portable barbecue fire pit.

Create a Cosy Party with a Portable Outdoor Fire Pit

When you throw plastic into a portable bbq fire pit and burn it, it releases some very dangerous chemical fumes and toxins such as dioxins, styrene gas and furans. These are not only harmful to your health, but also to the environment. In addition, melted plastic is difficult to remove and can damage your fire pit in the process. Instead of burning them, find new ways to reuse your plastic bottles and containers, or take them to your local recycling center.

Don't burn rubber, food scraps, rubbish bags or other household waste in your portable outdoor fire pit. Some items release toxins or pollutants into the air and they often emit unpleasant odors. What's more, don't throw explosive items such as batteries and aerosol cans directly into the fire. However, if you have a bad habit of burning rubbish bags, these items can be hidden inside and can thus cause harm. Also, this is illegal in many places.

Paper and cardboard
Cardboard and paper appear to be a harmless material and burn quite safely, but burning them creates huge flakes of insidiously burning ash and releases them into the air. If these land one of the ash particles in the wrong place, they can cause injury or possibly ignite other objects on fire. Also, some brightly colored items such as magazines, newspapers or wrapping paper contain large amounts of ink which can release harmful chemicals when burned. Therefore, avoid burning newspapers and high-gloss magazines and catalogues in your outdoor charcoal fire pit, especially if they contain large amounts of colored ink.

Paper and Cardboard

Adding too much light liquid or petrol to a portable fire pit can also be dangerous. This may seem like a harmless way to start a quick fire, but this type of fire can easily become uncontrollable and scary. For example, accelerants such as petroleum or pressurized cans of deodorant, hairspray or anything similar can be very dangerous to burn on a fire pit. Accelerants are unpredictable and can cause a fire to erupt quickly and beyond your control. In addition, they can lead to explosions. If you need something to light an outdoor fire pit, use barbecue charcoal lighter fluid or good old-fashioned paraffin wax and add it before lighting the fire - never add these safer accelerants to an already lit or shade lit fire.

Poison ivy, poison oak or lacquer trees
Burning your weeds in your portable charcoal fire pit may seem like an ideal solution, but you need to be careful. The smoke from burning incorrect foliage, such as poison ivy, oak or lacquer trees, or even green leafy branches, can cause severe lung irritation and for some people can lead to severe respiratory allergic reactions. Also, these nasty plants contain oils that can cause an irritating rash when they come into contact with your skin.

Painted or treated wood
With regard to wood, not all types of firewood are suitable for burning. Wood designed specifically for outdoor architecture is often pressure treated or chemically preserved to prevent decay in wet conditions. Examples include chipboard, deck timber, painted or stained boards, transport palettes or driftwood. The burning process of these types of wood can release dangerous chemicals that can be potentially dangerous and toxic to inhale. Even driftwood has the potential to release carcinogenic salt compounds into the air around you and your family. It is best to use standard logs cut specifically for backyard bonfires.

Painted or Treated Wood

Safety is the most important thing when making a fire. To be safe, please stick to burning untreated hardwood, local firewood, natural kindling, charcoal or kindling logs specially designed for outdoor use. Besides choosing the right materials to fuel your fire pit, knowing some simple safety tips will also ensure that everyone enjoys the time spent by the fire. I hope you and your family will stay safe and enjoy your portable bbq fire pit for years to come!

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