Portable Fire Pit Questions

I am looking to purchase a portable fire pit for a gravel area in my garden. I am thinking it would be nice to sit around in the evenings and get warm and watch the flame without the chance of it starting a forest fire during high fire season. I was wondering if anyone can give me ideas as what to look for in that type of a device.
I'm not interested in building a permanant pit (although I could, but that is not my interest). I assume I want one which has a chimmney, so the smoke won't get in the eyes of someone sitting downwind of the fire.
Any hints or tips would be appreciated. It would be nice to have one which I could also cook on. One of the features I am looking for is the ability for it to put out heat while it is burning. Oftentimes, in the summer evenings where I live the nighttime temps get in the 30's and 40's- so the ability for it to put out heat with the flame is preferred (so I guess it should have a hood).
Thanks
Rick
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Garden centers and wood/coal/propane stove stores here sell chimeras, which sound like they would fit the bill for you. It is a terra-cotta portable fireplace, roughly gourd shaped (if you imagine the chimney as the neck of the gourd) and about waist high, that sits on a metal stand. Most of them are made in Mexico, and they have a certain rustic charm.
cheers, Sue
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I agree with Sue. We had a wood burning Chimera just like she described. We had to put a screen on top of the chimney to stop the sparks from getting out. It lasted 2 yrs. and then started to crack. We now have a metal one I bought at Target with screen on all sides, but I liked the first one better. We used it a lot and that's why I think it cracked. Sue in Mi. (zone 5)
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Sue-
Do you have any actual experience with fire pits? I'd like to hear from people who have them, so they can tell me the pluses and minuses of them. I have done a search on the web and have seen many types of fire pits- but I was curious of anyone's actual experience.
Thanks anyway for the advice.
Rick
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