Campfires can be an integral part of outdoor life. As beautiful and mesmerizing as the flames are, campfires – or rather the people who light them – are responsible for more than half of all forest fires. Whether you’re camping under the stars in the backcountry miles away from anyone or hooking up your RV in a full-amenity trailer park,
you can’t afford to be careless with fire. Follow these safety tips to help keep your campfires safe and fun this summer.
- Check For and Obey Fire Restrictions
Weather conditions (very dry, hot and / or windy weather) can influence whether or not you can light a campfire. Most national, state and provincial parks post warnings, but if you aren’t sure, a park ranger or lo-cal fire department can tell you what the current fire restrictions are. Unless there’s an emergency, obey all fire restrictions!
- To minimize the impact on the environment and maximize your personal safety:
Build campfire that is in a pre-existing fire ring or fire pit, if possible:
* Ringed with rocks to prevent the fire from spreading * At least 3 yards from all tents, dry grass and foliage.
Don’t allow children and pets near the campfire and never leave them unsupervised. Teach kids how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby in case you need to extinguish the flames quickly. A fire extinguisher is also a good idea, if possible
Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
Keep the fire small enough to be extinguished quickly and easily.
Never leave a campfire unattended, not even for a minute.
- Lights Out
Totally extinguish the fire before you go to sleep or when you leave the site.
Douse the fire and coals with as much water as possible. Shovel dirt on top if the water
doesn’t do the trick. Not sure if it’s out? Where there’s smoke, there’s the potential for fire. Smoldering coals can easily reignite. Hold your hand close to the logs or coals to feel if they are still radiating heat. If they are, douse with more water or dirt.
Learn more on campfire safety: