Why You Should Be Cautious When Cooking With A Pizza Oven

It may seem counterintuitive to play with fire when it's hot out, but when it comes to pizza ovens, the appeal is easy to see — they're a major level-up when making your own pizzas at home, whether fresh or frozen. However, steps need to be followed in order to use the pizza oven safely.

Brooklyn Craft Pizza offers a series of tips for using your newly acquired pizza oven. These include ensuring there is no wind, because that would affect the air circulation in the oven; using pine cones and small logs for initial kindling; and, once the interior temperature reaches 450 degrees Celsius (around 850 degrees Fahrenheit), pushing the embers out so that the pizza paddle can fit.

Tom's Guide also says you should ask your local authorities about the need for a permit for an outdoor pizza oven, as regulations can vary at the county or even homeowner's association level. Once you're cleared for pizza takeoff, you should approach the use of such devices very seriously. 

Pizza ovens can cause fires

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the high heat of a pizza oven means that things can easily catch fire. As Brooklyn Craft Pizza warns, "Don't forget that this appliance is basically an open flame underneath so even the smallest problems could cause trouble if ignored for too long!" Wind, for example, can knock the oven over or blow flammable material into and out of the fire.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories about pizza oven fires gone wild. In February 2022, the wood chips for a pizza oven's fire caught fire in the exhaust system at a restaurant in Memphis, as reported by Fox13. Similarly, in January 2021, Cedar Rapids' KCRG reported on a family that forgot about a frozen pizza in the oven. One teenager was home and managed to put out the fire before tossing the scorching hot pizza into the trash outside, which caused another fire to erupt. No one was hurt, but the house did burn down.

So, if you do want to cook your own pizza at home, you should follow fire safety tips. Tom's Guide suggests you build your oven at least 10 feet away from your house and isolate it from anything flammable. Further tips include always switching off the gas when done (if it uses gas), cleaning and maintaining it properly, and familiarizing yourself with the safety section of the oven's manual. Finally, even the exterior of the oven can become exceedingly hot, which is why you should always use protective gloves while using it.