Unintentional actions are the leading cause of outside fires. Keep fire safety in mind when enjoying summer activities. Enjoying the pop and hiss of a glowing campfire is one of the most enjoyable parts of camping. Building fires comes with responsibility. A fire that is not properly built, maintained, and extinguished can quickly become a hazard. In the U.S., people start nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires. Campfires are an essential part of the camping experience. The best way to keep those memories from becoming a nightmare is to follow some simple yet important campfire safety tips.
Create a Safety Zone – Clear a 3-foot area starting at the base of the fire pit and going out in all directions. Point this safety zone out to children by marking it with sticks, bricks, or glow-in-the-dark spray paint tape. Young children should stay out of this area.
Conduct a Pre-fire Safety Briefing – Point out the safety zone as a reminder to young children. Remind children to not touch anything that has been in or near the fire. Show everyone where the water bucket is in case you need to put out the fire quickly. Practice stop, drop, and roll technique.
Fire Building is for Adults – Set the expectation that building the fire is a job for adults only. Let children help by gathering sticks. Only use natural materials and matches to start a fire. Accelerants like gas, lighter fluid, kerosene, or alcohol can lead to serious injury.
Keep Your Fire Small – Everyone loves the allure of a roaring fire, but it’s not necessary. Small fires still produce an enjoyable amount of heat and light.
Clear Away Dead/Dry Debris – Do a quick sweep around the perimeter of your firepit to clear dead leaves, twigs, and other natural fuel sources.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended – Although it may be tempting to leave a fire smoldering while you step away, you should never leave your fire unattended.
Extinguish Fires Completely – Make sure to completely extinguish a fire before going to sleep or leaving your site. To put out a campfire, use the “drown, stir, and feel” method. Drown the fire with water. Stir the ashes and coals with a shovel to smother the fire. Feel the area to make sure it’s cool to the touch. You may need to repeat this process several times before your campfire is completely out. Keep extra water close by in case of an emergency.
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