A camping trip won’t be complete until you have a blazing campfire going. The warmth of the fire and the comforting sounds it makes just takes you to a whole new world. But it takes responsibility to build a campfire – it should be properly built, maintained and extinguished to avoid hazards.
Be a responsible camper and follow these 5 campfire safety tips for a fun and safe time outdoors:
Follow the campground rules
Before you start a campfire, be sure to check with the ranger’s office first regarding the campground’s fire regulations. These rules constantly change – sometimes there’s a temporary ban especially when there’s a high risk of wildfires. Be sure to observe posted signs and ask campground personnel about current campfire rules.
Use/Build Fire Pits
If the campground you’re staying at has a built-in fire pit, that’s the only place you should build your fire. Make sure to clear it of any debris before lighting a match. If you’re staying at a more secluded area and there are no pits available (but campfires are allowed), you can build one by digging a shallow hole in the ground and circling it with rocks. Be sure to avoid building your bonfire near low-hanging branches and power lines. A ten-foot area around your pit should be clear to avoid accidents.
When your wood is ready, it’s time to light your campfire! Use a match to do so – never use flammable liquids such as gas, kerosene or lighter fluid. Make sure the match you used is completely extinguished before throwing it away. Throw it into your campfire or pour over the match to make sure.
Don’t bring your own firewood
You should only use local firewood to build your fire (available for purchase in the campground or from nearby stores). If you bring firewood from home, let’s say about 8 hours away, you could introduce diseases and tree-killing insects that could destroy the campground’s ecosystem.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy
Once your campfire is up and running, expect sparks and runaway flames. Keep everyone at a safe distance and be sure to have a bucket of water ready nearby. You can use a shovel to throw dirt or sand into the flames to keep it down, too.
You can also try watering down the ground a few feet outside of your pit to extinguish any flames that may jump out right away.
Always stay safe around fire outdoors – follow these campfire safety tips!