Campfire Safety



Is anything better than enjoying the great outdoors with a roaring campfire and night sky full of stars? Of course not, but it’s also a big responsibility to prevent wildfires. So here are some tips on how to build, enjoy and extinguish the best campfire ever!

Picking the Right Spot

If you are in a designated campground check the rules and follow them. If they provide fire rings then you’re ready to go. If fires are permitted and there are no fire rings, or if you are camping in the wilderness, do NOT build a campfire in dry, hazardous conditions. In the right conditions choose a level site at least 15  feet from your tent walls or low-hanging landscaping.

Preparing Your Campfire Pit

Clear away grass, twigs and firewood in a 10-foot diameter. Dig approximately 1 foot down and then surround the pit with rocks.

Building Your Campfire

First make sure you have a source of water, a bucket and shovel nearby at all times. Gather 3 types of wood from the ground: (1) Tinder – small twigs and dry leaves, grass and needles. For tinder you can bring things from home like paper, cardboard or dryer lint, (2) Kindling – Sticks smaller than 1 inch in diameter and (3)** Larger pieces of wood, stacked upwind away from the fire. Loosely pile a small amount of tinder in the center of the pit. Add kindling crossways atop the kindling and then ignite the tinder. Add more tinder as the fire grows, blowing lightly at the base of the fire. Add the larger firewood to keep the fire going. Be sure to keep the fire small and under control and never leave it unattended. Never burn dangerous things like aerosol cans, pressurized containers, glass or aluminum cans that could explode and/or shatter.

**Don’t cut wood from whole trees or branches, living or dead. Although the wood may be dead, if it is still attached to the tree it is probably home to wildlife. Don’t bring firewood from home as this can often bring foreign infestations of microscopic organisms into the environment.

Exinguishing Your Fire

If at all possible, burn your firewood to ash. Pour lots of water on the embers until there is no more sound of hissing. Use your shovel to cover the cool-enough-to-touch embers with sad or dirt. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!

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