Fire Pits – Travel and Leisure – Outdoors

Fire – one of the most elemental, fascinating and potent phenomena in the history of mankind. Important for cooking, warmth, creating ceramics, glass; repelling wild animals, clearing fields for agriculture, fire has shaped mankind. However, it can be destructive and terrifying, destroying forests, homes and people.In today’s green-conscious world, safe use of fire in outdoor leisure and travel settings has merited a lot of attention. Misuse of camping fires have caused tragic losses in wildlife, forests, homes and human lives. In some areas, use of open fires is banned completely in recreational areas for fear of wildfires. The use of fire pits can help to make safer use of fire possible. There are two basic types of fire pits – ones that are permanent and sunken into the ground and those that are portable.The permanent types are great for back yards and patios as property-enhancing features. A pit is dug and lined with heat-retaining stones or bricks which protect the ground below the pit and keep the fire from spreading above ground. The in-place fire pit makes a wonderful focal point for back-yard marshmallow roasts, story-telling, and parties and barbecues. A permanent fire pit can also be piped for natural gas, which gives flexibility in areas where wood burning is prohibited during part of the year.Portable fire pits can be carried along on family outings and smaller ones can be used virtually anywhere. They burn either wood or charcoal. Most have a metal container of varying shape – round, rectangular or square are most usual – with a screen covering the top to prevent sparks from spreading or flames from escaping. The container is supported by sturdy legs and/or support structures.Different metals are used. Choices range over shining copper, stainless steel, cast iron and cast aluminum. Some models have wheels on a couple of the legs making it possible to easily relocate. Others are set into a table top and are more furniture-like.Another type of portable fire pit is the metal or ceramic chiminea. These have a rounded bottom topped by a circular stack of varying height. Wood is put into the bottom through a front opening. Chimineas are a good heat source and small items of food can be cooked over the flames. Many styles are available to match any decor. Family gatherings and outings can be greatly enhanced by the addition of a fire pit.