How To Put Out A Fire Pit: Extinguishing A Campfire With Or Without Water

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It’s a common search query… ‘How to put out a fire pit?’

Usually, the best way to put out a fire pit is to let it die out naturally. This prevents damage and mess. However, you probably want a quicker solution than that, because that’s obvious and you wouldn’t be searching for answers.

Here are the different ways I put out fires in my cast iron fire pit – there are pros and cons to each method!

Best Way To Put Out A Fire Pit

best way to put out a fire pit

As already mentioned, the best way to extinguish a fire pit fire is to let it die out on its own.

To do this, stop adding fuel to the fire and spread the remaining embers out around the fire pit. If they are all bunched together they will stay hot longer, but if you isolate them, they will go cold.

If you use this method, it’s still important to keep an eye on the fire until it is completely out.

A good fire pit spark screen can help ensure no sparks exit the pit as well, and should always be used in areas of heightened fire danger.

The are multiple benefits to letting a fire die out:

  1. It will be easier to clean out
  2. Easier to restart next time
  3. You won’t potentially damage your fire pit

But if you need to put out a fire pit quickly, here are 3 of the best ways to do it.

*Always make sure to consult your fire pit instruction manual as some methods may be preferable to others. With some types of fire pit construction, it’s very bad to use water, for example.

1. Fire Pit Cover

how to put out a fire pit without water

How to put out a fire pit without water?

Placing something over the top of a fire pit will extinguish it, as it suffocates the fire. Not everyone will have something on hand to do this, but it is a preferable method.

I’m talking about putting some sort of metal sheet or cover over the fire, such as pictured above, so that it can’t get any oxygen and will go out. For example, we’ve got an old round metal bin lid that can be placed over the top of our Sunnydaze cast iron fire pit.

You don’t really want to do this on top of a blazing fire, but once it’s died down significantly, doing this will help put out the embers.

Always remember, the cover will also then become very hot, so don’t try to lift it up without protection!


  • Won’t damage the fire pit
  • Doesn’t create as much smoke
  • Can be a fast method if oxygen is completely cut off


  • Cover will get very hot
  • Embers can stay hot for a long time
  • Finding a suitable cover can be tricky

2. Sand Or Dirt

how to extinguish a fire pit
Piling a good helping of sand or dirt on top of the fire and embers will put it out reasonably quickly as well.

It’s a good method if you’ve got a campfire going at the beach or something like that. It basically does the same thing as suffocating the fire by now allowing it to get oxygen.

The downside of this method is that it can make a mess of your fire pit and be difficult to clean up. However, it’s unlike to damage your fire pit (as using water can), and it is another effective method of putting out a fire pit without water.

Sand can make a good bed for a fire pit fire, so you may not even need to clean it out before using it again the next time.


  • Quick and easy method
  • Most people already have dirt or sand on hand
  • They will also put out embers


  • Makes a bit of a mess
  • Can be difficult to remove from some pits

3. Water

how to put out wood fire pit

Can you put out a fire pit with water?

Of course!

Water is an obvious and good solution for putting out a fire pit quickly.

A year or two back while I was roasting marshmallows with some children, one of them had an accident and got a hot marshmallow stuck to her cheek (missed her mouth).

It was quite serious, so it was a case of grabbing the garden hose that we always have nearby, and putting it onto the fire. The fire was extinguished very quickly.

The downside of using water on a fire pit is that it can create a big sloppy mess, and it could even damage the pit. If the fire pit is extremely hot and you pour water onto it, it can warp the metal or damage the coating, among other things.

If you had a clay chiminea fire pit, for example, pouring water onto that would crack the clay and ruin it altogether. Copper fire pits can also be weakened or cracked if you pour cold water onto the hot metal.

It’s best to let a fire pit cool down a bit before pouring water on (and don’t use water at all on a clay model).


  • Puts fire out quickly
  • It will also put out embers
  • Can be used on large fire pits effectively


  • Can damage or destroy some fire pits
  • Creates a mess (aka ash soup)

How To Put Out A Solo Stove Fire Pit

If you have a Solo Stove Fire Pit, there are special instructions for extinguishing one of those – watch this video for the complete rundown.

Points from the video:

  • Don’t use water to put out a Solo Stove Fire Pit
  • Water will warp the stainless steel and collect in the bottom of the tip and stop it from working effectively
  • Let the fire go out naturally
  • Apply the Solo Stove Shield to stop sparks and ashes from leaving the fire
  • Once the fire has gone out you can put the lid on the fire pit which will complete the process
  • Still don’t touch the fire pit for another hour or so which is when the fire pit will be cool to touch

So that process can take up to 2 hours from when you apply your last piece of wood to the fire pit till when you can walk away. It takes some planning, but this will keep your pit from damage.

Check out the full range of Solo Stove accessories here for the shield, lid, tools, station, etc. Options for all Solo Stove models, including Ranger, Bonfire, and Yukon.

Put Out Fire Pit FAQs

best way to extinguish a fire pit

Can you leave a fire pit burning overnight?

You can leave a fire pit burning overnight, but it’s best not to – especially if you are in an area prone to bush fire danger.

It’s less of a risk if you have a cover or screen over the pit, but the general rule is to never leave a fire unattended.

Can you leave embers burning in a fire pit?

It’s best to make sure all embers are extinguished after you have finished with the fire. Put a cover over the top of it and let it die out completely. Alternatively, use sand or water to completely put out the embers.

When can you leave a fire pit?

Don’t leave a fire pit until it is completely out, including the embers.

It’s also a good idea to ensure the pit itself has completely cooled down before leaving it as well, just in case kids or pets still have access to it.

How To Put Out A Fire In A Fire Pit

Starting a fire pit is one thing, but putting it out is another.

However, it’s basically about doing the reverse, right?

When lighting a fire you want plenty of dry fuel and oxygen, when putting one out, you want to cut off the fire’s fuel and oxygen – a lot like putting out a fire in a fireplace.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a dying and smoldering fire pit in no time!

Let us know if you have any questions or comments in the comments below, and check out this round-up of the best campfire songs for a guitar and let us know what you think!


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