A Guide to Camping Fire Safety
Having a roaring and a warming campfire is one of the best parts of camping. Its fun to sing, dance and laugh around the fire and enjoy with the team. But the horrifying fact is that campfires are one of the leading causes of wildfires in the United States.
Thus, it is important to know how to set up and extinguish a campfire safely. In the following guide, we have dealt in detail the safe and the most prudent way of building and putting out a campfire completely.
Things to remember while using a fire pit:
When cooking outdoors and enjoying a campfire, safety is of utmost importance, check to see if the campground has existing fire pits and rings. If there are none then choose a one that is at least 15 feet away from the tent walls, trees and other flammable materials in the tent.
Highly flammable fluids such as diesel, gasoline, charcoal lighter, kerosene, and alcohol should not be used for relighting the fire. Keep children away from open fire and fire pits.
Campers should avoid flammable clothing, including those of nylon. They should not burn cardboard, leaves, plywood, and trash among flammable materials. To ignite the fire soft wood such as pine or cedar are not fit as they throw sparks and are likely to pop.
The user has to ensure that the lid of the pit will close to put out the fire in case of the emergencies and the not to overload the pit. It is good to place fire extinguisher or a water source near the fire fit.
What to note about campfires?
Campfires are the main cause of injury and the number one reason for forest fires. Campers have to practice proper burning techniques along with safety measures to protect themselves, fellow campers and the forest. The following tips would help in being safe in the camp involving fire
• Check on the weather forecast for wind fluctuations and sudden wind gusts to avoid sparking in debris and wildfires.
• The campfire should be four feet in diameter and three feet in height and use only untreated wood without paint or varnish and charcoal for ignition.
• Surround the campfire with rocks to keep the site safe and to add more heat to the fire.
• Make sure to choose a place away from overhanging tree limbs, shrubs, grass, rotten stumps, etc.
• The burning site should have soil or gravel in it’s surrounding and it is also okay to water down the surrounding area before making the fire.
• For those using burn barrel, BQ unit or a small pit, ensure to have rocks underneath and around it. This prevents the fire from spreading underground through the root system and decaying matter.
• Small sticks and dry twigs can be put to use to ignite the fire and then larger chunks of wood can come as an addition later on.
• Large wood should point towards the fire center and then push them into the fire gradually when they start to burn.
• To light the fire and to keep it burning, highly inflammable materials should not come to use.
• Do not throw the match used for lighting until it is cold to touch.
• Keep extra firewood away from fire.
• The fire should not be left untreated and unattended for even a small wind can spread the fire.
• Drown the fire with water while extinguishing or with dirt if the water source is not available.
• Those who use coal, should not bury them as they can smolder to burn again.
Steps to setting up a campfire safely:
While the campers enjoy the magnificence of a successful campfire set up they also should ensure that they are responsible for keeping the place safe without catching fire. Also, caution to be taken to keep pets and children away from the site.
Step 1: Look around and up the site:
Campfire safety starts well before the fire actually starts roaring. Campers should ensure that when they scout out the fire pit, it should not be near flammable sources, including tree branches and bushes. The fire pit should be at a radius of 10 feet beyond tents, chairs, food and even debris or obstruction.
Step 2: Safety proofing the pit:
Most of the campgrounds have a fire pit, but they are not always ready to go. Depending on the last time it was put into use by other campers, they might be additional safety measures to take. Clear the debris around the pit, including grass and garbage. There should be a 5 feet perimeter of soil around the campfire space.
If there are no metal rings then, circle the pit with rocks. If the fire grows in size the rocks will keep the borders of the fire pit. In any queries, campers can take help from campground ranger. The rangers can always double check if the fit is safe to use or not.
Step 3: keep water standby:
A new piece of wood and a big gust of wind can easily blow up the fire bigger than anticipated. Thus, it is mandatory to keep water, dirt, and shovel nearby to decrease the flames or to put out the fire completed if necessary.
Step 4: Be stringent and watching:
When camping with friends or family, distraction is common and one can easily walk out of the site for fun and other less important things. Regardless of other activities of importance, campers should always keep their eye on the fire. They should also watch kids and pet and prevent them from walking nearby.
Step 5: Extinguish before bed:
When it is time to sleep, campers have to extinguish the fire compulsorily. This can be done by throwing water and dirt on the fire. Then stir the residue with a shovel to ensure that fire won’t start again. The coal after the fire should be cold and wet.
What to do when it catches fire in the campsite?
When the fire catches unexpected on the clothing, then the camper should stay calm in one place as moving around will only feed the air with fire and can worsen the situation.
The next step is to drop to the floor if the person is standing up. To avoid the fire from burning the face and to protect it, the victim should fold their arms high on their chest.’
They have to roll slowly on a rug or a blanket if found. The next step is to cool off with water and not to peel off any melted clothing off the skin.
When a large area catches fire, and if it is unmanageable then there should not be any attempt to put it off by left. The best way is to call for help, inform the campsite rangers and leave the place as early as possible.
Many people think that there is no fun without fire in the campsite. Though this is partially true with enough caution and safety measures, there is no boundary for fun in the camps. We hope our guide helps you with all the safety caution measures to take while camping in the wild.