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A fire pit should always be completely non-combustible with a stone or metal base. Walls should be a minimum of 12” deep and a two-foot safe zone around the pit to catch embers. (Photo: Jules Zagarola/Adobe Stock)

Property underwriters might appreciate that open fires around the home are nothing new. Our distant cousins Homo Erectus/Neanderthal experienced the first fire in a cave in South Africa somewhere between 400,000 and 1 million years ago. The discovery was completely accidental when stone tools were being shaped with flint elements. Sparks ignited straw bedding, and a new age in underwriting unfolded.

While humans were initially terrorized by fires, over a period of about 100,000 years, humans began to appreciate the benefits: light, warmth, cooking, and protection against hungry animals. Also, tribal companionship and an opportunity to sing songs popular at the time proved important.

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