Forest fires have become quite the topic lately. It seems the whole west coast of the United States is burning and all it took was a single spark to ignite thousands upon thousands of acres of forest. And, once ignited, fires ravage quickly. Consequently, wildlife will be displaced and the whole environment suffers.
But we can change that by adhering to these 10 Campfire Safety Tips…
Clear your campfire perimeter
First, if there’s not a designated fire pit, be sure to look around where you’re going to build your campfire. Stay away from woods lines and low tree canopies. Likewise, whether or not there’s a fire ring, its best to remove dry leaves and twigs away from the fire pit area. If there is no fire ring, gather grapefruit-sized rocks to create a circular pit. Once your campfire is built, keep it contained inside the ring. Don’t stack your firewood close to the fire; fifteen to twenty feet away is best.
Keep your campfire small
Look, its not a contest to see who’s fire can be the biggest and most badass. Its not recommended that you build a fire higher than a foot to a foot and a half. Besides, keeping it small enables you to keep your fire lasting longer because you’re not using up all of your wood at one time.
Never leave campfire unattended
Just don’t! If you need to go inside to get the marshmallows, grab a beverage or hit the bathroom, always post an adult to watch the fire. Never leave an older child to mind the fire either. They are not equipped to handle such emergency if a younger child were to fall in or get burned.
Always keep water nearby
Whether its a few buckets of water or an energized hose (water spigot is on but water nozzle is off), water is an absolute must. When you douse your fire with water, do not use a straight stream that may displace the coals or sparks. Use the fog option on your nozzle. Use slow and long sweeps. Keep dousing until there are no coals or heat left. Stay with it for 30 minutes after dousing to insure the fire is completely out.
If water isn’t available, use dirt or sand. Whichever, don’t simply kick sand or dirt on your fire. It just hides the coals, keeping them hot even longer than if they remained exposed. Gently spread the coals out with a poker, rake or your camp shovel. Then stir dirt and sand among the coals until they completely extinguish. Again, stay with it for 30 minutes after to insure the fire is completely extinguished.
Watch the wind
Do not light a fire in winds over 5 mph, period. When a breeze or the wind starts up, it’s best to properly extinguish the fire immediately with water or sand.
If your fire gets out of control, note your exact location and immediately call 911 for assistance. And when there is no cell service, contact the nearest park ranger or campground host to report the fire.
Adult presence and supervision always
While your son or daughter may be the master campfire starter at Scouts, you still need to post an adult to monitor the fire. That means “outside” with the fire; not running in and out of your RV or going to the bathroom. All it takes is a split second for a spark to land where it’s not supposed to.
Keep children and pets at a safe distance
Do not allow children of ANY age to play or stoke fires. Keep them at a safe distance and only allow them to be around a fire with adult supervision. Might I recommend longer handled marshmallow roasting sticks for the little ones so they don’t get too close. Keep an eye on their torched marshmallows and not allow them to walk around with or fling them.
Even more, remind children of no horse play around the campfire. This goes for no running, jumping, or shoving each other.
Keep flammables away from fires
Never light a fire using flammable liquids like charcoal lighter, liquid butane, liquid propane or gasoline. Just NO NO NO! Likewise, this includes any frying or cooking grease.
Wood only in the campfire
Your campfire is not the trash can. Before throwing paper plates in the fire, think about the possible sudden ignition from the smallest bit of hamburger grease residue left on them. As well, paper plates and cups with coatings give off toxic fumes that affects the environment, wildlife and your neighbors. Do not throw flammables, cans or bottles either.
Do not dump your coals in the woods
You’ve seen what happens…FOREST FIRES. Only dispose of grill or campfire coals in proper receptacles or douse with water completely. Never ever move or relocate a fire.
So, if you don’t have firewood or the campground disallows wood fires, consider getting we what we have; an Outland Firebowl propane fire pit! We can light it with a simple butane lighter and VOILA! We have an instant campfire. Additionally, can extinguish it and go to bed immediately.
To read about the end result of what fire can do…
For other safety tips…