Where is the best place to put a fire pit?
Even though a campfire appears to be extinguished, it could have ignited roots and other flammable material below ground. With abundant fuel and plenty of oxygen, a root fire travels underground and eventually surfaces elsewhere as an above-ground fire. A fire usually burns in the duff layer, or first few centimetres of the soil. But in a dry summer, a fire can easily migrate down as deep as 45 centimetres, following squirrel and chipmunk holes. Once that root fire is born, it can burn for months.
There is, however, a way to enjoy a fire pit at your cottage without worrying you could murder a prized pine or incinerate the whole forest. Clear away combustible material and dig down at least 30 centimetres. If you encounter tree roots, find another spot, because hacking back roots can damage a tree. Now fill the hole with gravel or sand – preferably sand because it is more compact. Don’t forget to ring the pit with stones.