Knowing where to put a fire pit in survival situations is extremely important for a number of reasons. Proper placement of the fire pit could ensure that you’ll stay safe and warm while not presenting a fire hazard to the wilderness around you.
However, while it likely won’t affect your livelihood, knowing where to put a fire pit is important if you decide to add one to your property. For that reason, this article will look at where to put a fire pit in survival scenarios, as well as on your property.
Where to Put a Fire Pit in Survival Situations: Considerations and Precautions
While knowing where to put a fire pit on your property is important, it’s all done for fun and games. However, knowing where to put a fire pit in survival situations can mean the difference between life and death.
Proper placement of a fire pit, while you’re stranded with limited supplies, is vital. As with a residential fire pit, safety and practicality play a factor, but maximizing warmth, ventilation, and a nearby wood source are even more important.
So, if you’re in a tough spot and relying on fire to stay dry, alive, and keep animals at bay, here’s everything you know about where to put a fire pit.
Protect Your Environment
First and foremost, it’s vital to protect the grass, trees, leaves, and environment around you. The last thing you want to do is start a forest fire, not only because it’s a death sentence for anyone trapped in the woods but also because you don’t want to destroy the wilderness.
Therefore, you should keep the pit as far away from flammable objects as possible while still keeping you warm and safe. You should also keep water on hand to subdue any stray flames and to keep your fire pit as safe as possible.
The main goal of building a fire is for the warmth it provides. Therefore, you want it close enough to your shelter or sleeping area as possible.
In fact, most survivalists prefer to have two fire pits – one inside their shelter and one outside. The fire pit inside your shelter keeps you warm through the night, while the pit outside is for boiling water, preparing food, and keeping predators at bay.
If you choose to have a fire pit inside your shelter, you must provide adequate ventilation. Smoke inhalation can kill you just as assuredly as flames can.
However, it’s tricky to provide ventilation for the smoke while keeping most of the warmth inside. The key will be in building a chimney that works similarly to a chimney in a house.
Obviously, you won’t have the same building materials in the wild as you would with Lowes or Home Depot nearby. However, you can use rocks, moss, and other natural materials to construct a chimney that allows most of the smoke to escape while keeping enough warmth inside your shelter.
If you don’t like having a fire pit in your shelter, you can also place it just outside near the entrance. Next, build a firewall on the backside of the fire pit to block wind and filter warmth toward your shelter entrance.
This option isn’t quite as effective as a fire inside the shelter, but it’s safer.
Somewhere You Can Keep It Dry
If you choose to have the fire pit outside your shelter, keeping it dry from rain and snow is important. Therefore, knowing where to put a fire pit in relation to trees and natural shelters around you is important.
If natural ceilings and shelters aren’t an option, you can build a small lean-to or makeshift roof above the fire. However, building another shelter means more work and using materials that you could use to feed the fire.
Take the Wind Into Consideration
Another consideration when deciding where to put a fire pit is which way the wind blows. Obviously, the wind can be unpredictable and will change from day to day, but most prevailing winds blow from east to west rather than from north to south.
Keeping the wind in mind, you should build your fire pit somewhere so that it’s protected from winds blowing east to west. If you can’t find a natural obstacle, such as rocks or trees, you’ll have to build a firewall.
Additionally, if you’re wondering where to put a fire pit outside your shelter in relation to the shelter, you should place the pit on the east or west side of the shelter. That way, if you build a firewall behind the fire pit, it will block most of the wind while still allowing enough to pass and blow hot air into your shelter.
Near Wood and Fuel
If you’re in a survival situation where energy preservation is important, it’s important to know where to put a fire pit for convenience. The last thing you want to do is waste energy walking hundreds of feet to your wood or fuel source because you built the fire pit too far away.
Therefore, building your fire pit near an established wood pile is important. It’s also important to start your wood pile near a heavily wooded area so you’re never far away when you need to resupply.
So, if everything works according to plan, you’ll have your fire pit, wood pile, and a nearby wood source within fifty feet of one another.
A Fairly Clear Area
Finally, safety plays a huge role when it comes to knowing where to put a fire pit in the wild. You want to stay away from low-hanging trees and brush, but you also want to clear the area around the fire pit.
Numerous forest fires start every year because fire is allowed to spread on the ground to nearby leaves and weeds. Therefore, you should clear a 10-foot perimeter around your fire pit to prevent forest fires and other hazards.
Clearing the ground around your fire pit is even more important than steering clear of trees and brush.
Having a Fire Pit Inside Your Shelter Vs. Outside
One of the biggest questions that people have when wondering where to put a fire pit is to have it inside or outside their shelter. As we discussed previously, putting the fire pit inside your shelter offers more warmth and comfort than having it outside your shelter.
However, if you choose to go this route, it’s vital that you have adequate ventilation for smoke. If you choose to have your fire pit outside your shelter, you’ll need to build a fire wall to direct heat inside.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can have two fire pits – one inside the shelter and one outside.
Where to Put a Fire Pit in Your Yard
While picking the right location for a fire pit at your home isn’t as essential as in survival scenarios, it’s still important. You should consider things like safety, distance to the fire pit, and ability to entertain when deciding where to put a fire pit on your property.
Away From Your Home
While you want your fire pit to be close enough to your house that it isn’t a burden to walk to, you don’t want it so close that it presents a hazard. Sparks and stray flames can fly up to thirty-five feet in all directions, so you should place the fire pit a minimum of forty feet from your home.
You also want to place the fire pit a safe distance from your shed and any other buildings on your property. Forty feet is the minimum, but sparks can travel even further if there’s a stiff breeze.
In the Open
In addition to keeping your home and other buildings on your property safe, you also want to protect the world around you. While placing your fire pit in the woods will add an outdoorsy and whimsical element, it also presents a fire hazard.
Therefore, it’s important to know where to put a fire pit in relation to trees, shrubs, and other flammable objects. As with your house, you should try to clear an area of thirty to forty feet around your fire pit and keep it free of flammable objects.
You should also keep water or a fire extinguisher on hand to quickly take action if a fire starts outside your pit.
Somewhere You Can Entertain
Entertainment is the third and final factor to consider when deciding where to put a fire pit. While sitting around a fire by yourself is fun, it’s even more fun with friends and family.
Therefore, it’s important to put the pit in a safe location that’s also perfect for entertaining guests. The ground around the fire pit should be open, level, and solid enough to hold chairs with people and tables with food.
You should also try to pick a spot far enough away from your house to be safe but close enough so that it isn’t a burden to gather around the pit. While safety should always come first, there isn’t much point in having a fire pit if it’s inconvenient to use.
Wrapping Up Where to Put a Fire Pit
While there are many important elements when it comes to survival, knowing where to put a fire pit is at the top of the list. It will determine how safe, warm, and useful your fire is, as well as how much energy you have to expend gathering wood.
For more helpful information about starting fires in survival mode, check out our article about starting a fire without kindling.