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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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The Campfire Goes Up-Market

These lovely dry autumn days are just perfect for getting out in the garden. And if you have a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, invite your friends and family over for a fireside fall picnic. There’s nothing like a whiff of wood smoke to get us into the mood for hot apple cider and s’mores.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, fire pits are currently the Number One design feature requested by homeowners. There are oodles of options, from the copper bowls on a wrought iron stand that can be found in most hardware stores, to fancy custom built stone pits.

It’s important to remember that you can enjoy your outdoor fire pit without building a funeral pyre-sized bonfire. Safety is key with any fire, so make sure you position your pit at least 10 feet away from any overhanging structure – and that includes trees. You don’t want sparks setting the leaves on fire! Keep a hose handy just in case sparks land on any dry leaves – and don’t leave a fire blazing when you go to bed. Another no-no is burning pressure-treated lumber or any painted wood as they give off toxic chemicals.

New on the market are fireplaces like the EcoSmart , which burn bio-ethanol, an environmentally friendly fuel produced from agricultural by-products. It burns clean and produces no smoke or harmful emissions. EcoSmart fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes – the smaller ones can even hang on the wall, like a piece of art. The fuel comes in bottles -- you can buy it on-line or from stores like as Nordic Stove & Fireplace Center in Stamford.

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