Campfire Safety Tips

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Campfires are an essential part of the camping experience. Stories are told around them, s'mores are roasted on them, bodies are warmed by them and memories are created. The best way to keep those memories from becoming a horror story is to follow some simple and important campfire safety tips.

Some fires are ignited by lighting or natural causes, but people cause an overwhelming number of wildfires. Most of these fires are accidental and are due to careless acts. Do your part to stay fire safe!

Keep your wit around the fire pit

Four Tips for Campfire Safety

  1. Pick Your Spot Wisely: Use existing fire circles or pits if available. Do not build a fire in dry or windy conditions, especially if there are fire restrictions in place (check with local authorities). Build fires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs, or other flammable materials.
  2. Prepare Your Pit: Choose a spot for your campfire that is downwind from your tent and gear, and protected from wind gusts. Clear a 10-foot-wide diameter area around your site, and make sure there are no limbs or branches hanging over your pit. Always circle the pit with rocks, or use an existing fire ring.
  3. Build A Small Campfire: Once you have a prepared pit, you are ready to build a small campfire that stays well within the fire pit. It is recommended to use three types of wood. Tinder, which is made of small twigs, dry leaves or grass, will get the fire started initially. Kindling, consisting of twigs smaller than one inch around, will help to light the larger pieces of wood. Fuel—the large pieces of wood—will provide the heat and sustained flames once the tinder and kindling are consumed.
  4. This is the most important step! EXTINGUISH THE FIRE PROPERLY: Campers need to properly maintain and extinguish campfires when going to bed or leaving the area. If possible, let the campfire burn down to ashes. Pour water on the fire to drown all embers, not just the red ones. Once this is done, stir everything in the pit with a shovel and test for heat with the back of your hand. Once it is completely out, you are safe to go to bed or leave the area. 

Campaign for Smokey Bear that reads Keep Your Wit Around the Fire Pit.

#RecreateResponsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors.

Know Before You Go: Know how to prevent wildfires by properly using outdoor equipment, learning campfire safety, and checking for fire restrictions and closures. 

Practice Physical Distancing: Give first responders space, it's crucial to not impede firefighting efforts. Wildfires are no-drone zones. 

Plan Ahead: Know what fire restrictions are in place at your destination, and check if campfires, barbecues, and flammables are allowed. 

Play It Safe: From fireworks to camp stoves, understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools, and that some of these may be restricted in your location. 

Explore Locally: Impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a backup plan, like close-to-home gems that you have yet to explore. 

Leave No Trace: Keep your campfire small, ensure that it's out completely and cold to the touch prior to leaving or going to sleep. 

Build An Inclusive Outdoors: Everyone experiences the outdoors differently, and we can work together to keep our communities safe. 

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