Before you light a fire, make sure outdoor fires are legal in your community. If outdoor fires are permitted, only build them where they can be contained. Try an outdoor chimenea, fire bowl or fire pit, taking care not to overload it. Make sure there is nothing flammable within 3 feet of the fire. It is important that you never leave a fire unattended. Sparks can blow onto surrounding leaves and grass and quickly spread. Always keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby to extinguish errant flames.
When you're done with your outdoor fire, drown flames with plenty of water and stir the ashes. Continue adding water and stirring until everything is cold to the touch. Don't discard ashes or embers in trashcans until the next day. Instead, collect them in a metal bucket designated for ashes only and leave it outside overnight. Douse with water again in the morning before discarding the ashes in the trash. When using a patio heater, always remember to turn it off when you go inside.
It's also important to keep your roof clear of leaves and other debris. This will prevent sparks, power lines or lightning from starting a fire on your roof—not to mention improving the look of your home's exterior.