Our next topic in the Summer Fire Safety Series is one of our favorites here at FireAvert because it means s’mores, ghost stories, and being out in the great outdoors: campfires! We don’t know about you, but we think Summer just wouldn’t be complete without at least one evening spent around the crackling flames of a campfire with friends and loved ones. While we hope everyone can enjoy a campfire this season, there are definitely plenty of safety measures to follow before you strike the first match and set fire to your kindling.
First, before venturing out to a camping ground, make sure you are aware of the campfire rules for that area. You must be sure you know where within the park they are allowed, when they are permitted, and what size of fire is acceptable within the park. You should be able to get this information from a visitor’s center or through contacting the park before you visit.
Second, you should check the local fire conditions for the area. If it’s been dry, windy, or very hot, campfires could be banned in an area that otherwise would permit them. You can check for this information online or by contacting the park you’re planning to go to prior to your visit.
If after making sure fires are allowed you are ready to go, here are some further tips to keep in mind so your campfire experience is a safe one:
- Make sure your tent, gear, and any other flammable objects are at least 15 feet away and upwind of the fire pit.
- Only use lighter fluid as an accelerant to start a campfire. Never use any other accelerants, especially gasoline.
- Keep your fire small so it stays under control.
- Use cooking utensils long enough to keep you at a safe distance from the fire, with handles that will keep your hands from getting burned.
- If you have kids or pets with you, keep an eye on them to keep them safe.
- Only burn wood—other materials can emit toxic gas and make the fire pit unsuitable for the next camper that will use it.
- Always keep plenty of water nearby in case of emergencies, as well as for when you’re ready to put the fire out.
By following these tips (and more found on the National Park Service’s website here), you can be sure that your campfire will be safe, and the campground you’re attending and the people you’re with will be safe, too. With that kind of peace of mind, you’ll be prepared to have your best Summer of campfires yet!