Any time you're thinking of putting something that gets very hot on or
over a flammable surface, you want to take great care. You risk
discoloration at best, a fire at worst. There are protective fire pads
for placing under grills and fire pits to protect the decking. These
come in various sizes and tend to be quite expensive. Some people use
bricks to create a heat-resistant surface on top of the deck on which
to place grill or pit or whatever heat-emitting device. Some people
raise the level of the device by raising it on bricks or metal legs in
order to keep the firebox well away from the deck.
So, you have options - but in any case, since wood is flammable, it
would be prudent to keep a hose ready nearby, just in case cinders
blow out or the chiminea gets knocked over.
I was passed on a highway very early one morning by a fire truck and
police car. I very quickly saw the reason for the fire truck: a nearby
home had a charcoal grill on its deck. The deck was on fire, and it
had spread to the house siding by the time the fire truck pulled up.
Since this was so early in the morning, odds are the family left the
coals burning overnight, and probably a piece or two fell out and
smoldered until the deck began to burn. A nasty surprise to wake up to.
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