The campfire. It’s been a symbol of communal gathering since the dawn of time. It’s the place where conversations linger and hearty belly laughs mingle. The campfire is a beacon that draws us together. And, the California Fire Pit’s Tahoe fire pit offers all that primal joy of a wood-burning fire in a portable model that’s built to last.
History of California Fire Pits
One of the first things Native Americans did after reaching camp was build a fire. It was there, around the flames, that meals were cooked and stories told. In days of the Old West, cowboys would gather around the campfire after a hard day’s work to enjoy one another’s tales.
It was with such purpose that Jim Shelburne and Penn Cummings built their first outdoor fire pit in 1972. The first pit became a central gathering place for family and friends who visited Jim’s cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
It was crafted from a piece of a farm implement — a disc blade. The disc blade came from one of the pieces of farm machinery Jim and Penn’s business, Schmeiser Co., produced. While crude, the piece provided the perfect shape for containing the coals and providing warmth to all gathered. This is thanks in large part to the high-quality materials and workmanship of professional welders used by Schmeiser co.
Over the last 45-plus years, design enhancements have led to the Schmeiser California Fire pit to be one of the best outdoor fire pits available. It offers all the joy of a wood-burning fire in a portable model that’s built to last.
Fire Pit Safety Tips
All California Fire Pits come with a kettle hook, poker, and spark screen to provide maximum security. In addition to these accessories, following these fire pit safety tips is strongly recommended.
- Never light a fire during a burn ban. (You can check Washington burn bans by county here.)
- Make sure your fire pit is at least 10 feet away from any structure of neighboring yard before lighting.
- Never position your fire pit under any structure. This includes a covered porch, low-hanging tree branches or outdoor umbrella.
- Always place the fire pit on a non-flammable surface, such as concrete, patio blocks or gravel.
- Never place your fire pit on a wooden deck or grass.
- Never leave your fire pit unattended.
- Never leave children or pets near the fire pit unattended.
- Always be cognizant of the amount of fuel you place in the fire pit. You want to just you enough to keep it burning gently.
- Do not burn garbage or paper products in your fire pit. These can easily spark and throw embers outside of the fire pit.
- Never wear flammable or loose-fitting clothes while using the fire pit or standing near it.
- Keep a large bucket of water or hose nearby in case of an emergency. Remember, accidents can happen even when you’ve taken every precaution.
- Only dispose of ashes after they’ve been allowed to cool completely. Embers can still be burning 2 or 3 days after the first has burnt out, so be sure to check them thoroughly.
How to Light a Fire in Your California Fire Pit
Start by collecting what you'll need to light your California Fire Pit:
- Tinder, such as newspapers, dry pine needles and straw
- Kindling, such as thin sticks or twigs
- Fuel, seasoned wood
Lay the fire beginning with your tinder first at the center of your fire pit. One of two handfuls of tinder should do.
Lay four or five pieces of kindling over your tinder in a ring, so the tips meet in the center. This should look a bit like a teepee.
Using a lit match, light the tinder from the bottom, watching the flames for any unwanted sparks. As the tinder and eventually the kindling catches fire, gradually add larger pieces of your fuel. Be careful not to stack your fuel in one big pile, as this can smother your flames and coals, preventing the logs from catching.
As your fire burns down, continue adding fuel gradually to keep it going for as long as desired.
3 Delicious Recipes to Cook on a California Fire Pit
How do you take your time around the fire to the next level? You add some delicious treats, of course! The following recipes can be cooked on your California Fire Pit, so and your guests can stay around the flame all night long.
Karlynn Johnston from The Kitchen Magpie is the kind of easy-going recipe that’ll make your inner-kid happy, without asking much of your busy-life. Made from just two store-bought ingredients, it comes together in just seconds — but tastes like a million bucks. Talk about a win!
Love pizza? Love nachos? This campfire mashup is the perfect combination of both. Created by Jessica Pinney from Cooking with Janica it features all the tortilla chip and supreme topping goodness you love, cooked up over an open flame. It’s savory heaven.
Get everyone hands on with the fun recipe for spiralized hot dogs from Felicia at the Starving Chef. The tasty dogs are topped with savory and healthy spinach mix, which makes them the perfect finger-food solution to serving a main course and vegetable all at once!