Firepit precautions and disasters

Our town also has the requirement that the firepit have a grill but I do remove the grill and stoore it in a deck box , and I did advise my guests that the firepit could be used for weinies and marshmallows to make smores but never thought to tell anyone not to use the pans. Just didn’t think about it. Honestly if they had just told me what happened to the pan, instead of putting it back and letting another guest find it I may not have even charged them for it. That is one of my guest rules “Please let us know if anything has been damaged or broken during your stay” The worse part is I don’t know which of the previous 2 guests did it. Now, if I had agreed to the cleaning protocol I would have taken out all those pans and washed them again in the dishwasher and caught the damage, so there is that! On the other hand, if I had agreed to the protocol, and did not pull out all the pans and rewash them, the guest that found them could complain and get all her money back.

I let people use the grill too. I haven’t had too many issues but they do always leave it very dirty and it’s a project to clean. I mean dirty like entire pieces of food fall through into the bottom and rot. I have to pretty much disassemble it to clean it thoroughly.

There are a few types of short-term renters. There are the ones who come to a place to go to an event, those are usually better because they aren’t around 24/7. Then there are the ones who come to sit around the house to swim, drink, cook every single meal, use the bbq a lot… I like when I have people who are in town for something, it’s better for the local economy and they are easier guests… but I get it, sometimes you want to loaf by a pool and do nothing… I don’t mind it so much but the loafers tend to overuse the utilities and leave a mess.

I don’t have a grill on my fire pit. It’s just a sand pit and it’s not even close in proximity to the bbq. You could do smores on there but it’s gas. I’ve never done it myself. I don’t think a damaged pan is a big deal for another renter to find. Of course, as hosts, we try to ensure it is replaced, or at least not in the cabinet, but you can’t beat yourself up too badly over one damaged pan in the cabinet. It is a shame you didn’t notice so you could bill the correct person. I usually go through the cookware, especially if the party was the “sit around the house” type. When you get one of those groups you literally have to polish every pan prior to the next visitor.


I guess you’ve never gone rustic camping.


Don’t people usually a cast iron pan when camping? (or is that too fn heavy to lug around!)

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My son does a lot of rustic camping, backpacking, fishing, and hunting and he useS old pans we have given him over an open fire. They all come back scorched and warped. Iron pans are too heavy for back packing in.

As Mountain Host also stated, yes, too heavy. Rustic camping usually means you can’t drive all the way to the location- you are usually back-packing at least some of the way. There is light-weight cookware designed especially for backpackers.
Places you can only hike into are usually the most beautiful and special, although I’m not fond of backpacking myself. I don’t mind hiking for long distances, I just don’t like carrying a heavy pack.

Your intentions were good but I would definitely have advised you against it. I have a very simplistic approach to my homes. I’ve been running them since 2008. You could have done a nice relaxing outdoor set where your guest can go out there when the weathers nice and read or work on their computer and be satisfied. I can’t imagine anyone once checked out expressing disappointed that they didn’t have the ability to have a fire in your backyard. But to have a guest comment on having an outdoor lounge area will bring a smile to you and the guest face. Good luck!


We have our listing in a rural setting just outside of brisbane australia, if we didnt have a bbq and fire pit we would get so many guests complaining, most listings in Australia( MUST have a BBQ due to our climate everyone eats outside, and most people would expect a gas bbq not charcoal, that is only just entering the Australian market and i dont think i would ever allow a charcoal bbq. however being rural and having cold winters we have a fireplace inside and a fire pit outside

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I was once still talking with a woman, while seated in front of a fire pit. We were at a party, and I had no idea how much she’d had to drink. When she stood up, she fell and came so close to falling onto the edge of the fire pit, I screamed! You know how many fire pits have a little ledge that goes around the rim? The way she fell, I don’t know how she didn’t hit that rim and flip the thing on top of herself. She was too drunk to be worried, but I was pretty shaken up!

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I am convinced that I need to pull out the fire pit, but I am not totally convinced I should pull out the propane barbecue. I agree my lawyer would tell Me to pull that out too. We do have separate short term rental insurance and need to rereview the terms on that.

Really want to say how much I have learned from this forum in the last few weeks. Tons of info a STR owner should know—battles, politics, snarky comments, digressions and all. Still have a lot to learn…


We do not allow open flames or fires of any kind here. No smoking etc. One guest brought and used her little grill and I was horrified. Maybe they are the only ones I caught! .075% . Many guests have asked politely if there is one but its just tough luck or find another place if it is so important, which one group did that. Usually I have the conversation with guests about the famous Woolsey Fire which started nearby, and burned 35 miles straight to the sea devastating many neighborhoods…

I don’t have any fire danger where my Weber charcoal grill is located, and I tell guests that they are welcome to throw something on IF I’ve got it lit. No starter fluid, just a stovepipe starter using a crumpled newspaper.

I’ve only had 3 take up my offer — Aussie, Texan, and Japanese. It’s Alaska, so it was always salmon.

Grill and fire pits are unfortunately expected in some markets - the Catskills being one of them. In the Adirondacks, too.

I have a small charcoal grill. I’ve had people ask if I had one and also specifically request it but no one has ever used it. :woman_shrugging:
I’m surrounded by forest in a town with a volunteer fire department and no city water (so no fire hydrants). A fire would be a nightmare at my old wooden house! I did have a group recently make a fire in the backyard right on the grass. They put it out with the metal lid to the trash can. I know because it was scorched and warped. The they carefully gathered an intact and round (lid-shaped!) carpet of moss and placed it over the blackened area to hide the evidence.

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I have both a fire pit and barbeque and hot tub. No trouble except one guest and the hot tub. We had to empty it. I live c on the other side of the house and when in my bedroom can hear and see the fire pit. I supply everything and marshmallows. I did not leave the fire pit grill. They can bbq. Or roast hot dogs on the sticks I provide. I also live in the country, have no fire protection and neighbors are far away. I also have the yard completely fenced for the guests dogs and little ones. The fire pit is a very much enjoyed amenity guests come for.

Sometimes guests can really surprise you with what they will do. The first guest I let self-check-in (because they were arriving at 1:30 am), looked at the already-built fire in the fireplace and decided it would be romantic to have a fire. So they lit the fire. At 2 am I heard beep, beep, beep . . . beep, beep, beep. The only noise I can hear from the downstairs unit in my duplex is the smoke detector. When I opened my back door to go down and inspect, the outside back door was open and there was smoke pouring out the back door. I went down to see what had happened and found the young woman pouring a glass of water on the still-smoldering fire while the young man ran around trying to open the windows (this was February in Minnesota–storm windows on every window). Smoke was all over the place and filled the tops of the rooms down to about chin level. It seems they were from Florida and did not know about opening the flue. Obviously my fault for pre-building the fire.

My house rules at the time said I was to be present for the first fire (so I could do some educating). They were young and didn’t read them. Since they were here for the Super Bowl, there were no other places for them to go so they finished their stay, to my great financial advantage. They did do a lot of work cleaning the place up. After that I did not pre-build the fire and I put a tent card on the mantle saying to contact me before having a fire (in case they bought a log from Super America).


My STR is in Santa Fe. High desert environment, large gravel back yard. I have a conversation table/ fire pit. Never had problems. Propane grill that a lot of guests have communicated they loved. It’s not in my photos or listing info so it’s an added surprise when guests arrive. Took about a year to go through one tank.


:woman_facepalming: What was your review of them like? Did you have to do interior repainting? What a sh*t show.

I was very lucky in that the only damage was a mild smokey smell. I have a fairly powerful fan that I put in a window, once I got a storm open, to clear the smoke. It was a bit cold in there for a while. No need to repaint. They used Fabreeze and some other odiferous things on it, which left other smells. I had one day before my next guest, and I used a product called Atmosklear Odor Eliminator, available on Amazon, to get rid of the perfumey smells. BTW, it works wonders on animal smells or any unpleasant smell.

Since they worked hard (and spent money buying products to freshen the air) to clean the place up, and put up with the cold from airing the place out, I gave them a good review, suggesting privately that they should read the house rules next time. They were good sports about it and they didn’t quibble about paying the full bill for a Super Bowl reservation which was really nice for me.