Over the past several months, outdoor gatherings have served as an effective way for friends and family to connect while minimizing exposure to the coronavirus. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, outdoor portable heaters, fire pits, chimineas and campfires are being used to help comfortably extend social activities for as long as reasonably possible. While these types of outdoor equipment can continue to be used safely, it’s important to remember that they do present potential fire hazards. Fortunately, these risks can be significantly reduced by following basic but important tips and recommendations: 
Use fuel and fire starters properly
 
Never leave equipment unattended
 
Carefully consider placement of equipment, keeping anything that can burn well away
 
If a fire breaks out, call the fire department
 
NOTE:
If you’re a local official working to ensure that outdoor portable heaters are used properly and safely at restaurants and other businesses in your community, our new “Outdoor Heater Safety” fact sheet provides guidance and recommendations for safe usage, including proper storage of propane tanks, in accordance with NFPA 1, Fire Code.We also have a wealth of free, downloadable public education resources addressing fire and life safety issues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to check them out!