Campfires are one of the things that make camping interesting. However, building campfires come with responsibility. In the U.S., 90% of wildfires are started, with people.
A campfire that is not properly built, maintained, or extinguished can easily become disastrous to the people or the animals around that area. Although campfires are enjoyable, learning how to enjoy your campfire safely and responsibly is crucial.
Tips for Enhancing Campfire Safety
Ensure You Know the Rules
Before you start any campfire, ensure you are well conversant with the regulations of the campground in which you are planning to build the campfire. Since rules change, ensure you have current rules and regulations of the campsite you are looking to visit. A campground that allowed campfires some years ago may temporarily bun them because of the high risk of wildfires. Ensure you check on the signboards and websites to get updated rules and regulations.
Use A Pit to Build Your Campfire
Most campgrounds offer pits in which you can build campfires. Ensure you only build your campfire in the pit. While most campfires provide pits, others allow campfires but do not provide pit for use. In such cases, ensure you at least dig a pit in an open area, away from overhanging branches, power lines, or any other thing that could easily catch fire.
Build A Safe Campfire
Once you have prepared your pit, now it’s time to build a safe campfire. Use dry leaves or grass to start the fire. Add kindling, small twigs, and sticks whose diameters are less than an inch. As you build the fire, add bigger pieces of wood on to it. Your campfire doesn’t have to roar; just a small fire surrounded by rocks is good to go. You will get enough heat as the fire burns.
Watch the Match
Of course, you have to use a match to start your campfire. But after using it, ensure it is extinguished before disposing of it. You can either throw it inside the burning fire or use water to extinguish it. Don’t ever think of using gas, kerosene, or any other flammable liquids to start your campfire. This could cause hazards to you, animals, and the land surrounding you.
Use Local Firewood
You may want to bring firewood with you to the campground, especially if your home is closer. This is however not a good idea. You know why? because you could be carrying tree-killing insects unawares, and bring to the forests where they weren’t before. So, use the closest firewood you can find, and avoid carrying your own.
Ensure You Have Water as You Start the Campfire
Never start building a campfire without having a bucket of water and a shovel anywhere near you. But why do you need water and a shovel? What are they used for? Well, the use of water could be obvious. You will need to douse any flames that are trying to run away. And the shovel? You can use this to throw sand on any flames that get out of your fire ring.
Pay Attention to The Wind
A strong wind could spread your campfire in an instant. So, to ensure the wind doesn’t cause a wildfire, keep anything flammable, including unused firewood, against the wind and ensure they are at least 15 feet away from the campfire.
Never Leave the Campfire Alone
A campfire should never be left alone, even for a minute. Did you know that even a small breeze can spread the fire in just seconds? Keeping an eye on the campfire is essential for your safety.
Put the Campfire Out Properly
Extinguish the fire properly when you are done with it. Dump water on the fire and stir with a shovel, then dump more water in the fire. Ensure the campfire is cold by the time you decide to leave it unattended. You may find it difficult to extinguish a larger log, so, ensure you soak them with water. Never bury coals from the fire as they can smolder and start burning.
Campfire safety should be your top priority other than enjoyment. Ensure you follow the campfire rules to keep you, the animals, the land, and everyone else safe.