Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by Michael J. Branco
Quite a few people wonder what the safety basics on camping fire is?
Tent camping is a big trend. About 60% prefer camping outdoors for renting R.V.s and cabins. Enjoying the bang and whistle of a lit fire, not to mention the light and warmth that fire brings, belongs to the most enjoyable camping parts.
But making fires brings commitment. A fire that is not correctly built, maintained, and put out can quickly become a hazard to people, animals, and the land around it.
There’s nothing like the exciting smell of roasted marshmallows or roasted hot dogs over an open fire. But, when you’re cooking outdoors, campfire safety is paramount.
So, before you start dinner, you should make sure you not only enjoy the food but also remain safe.
Here are five fire safety tips to make your next camping adventure a success.
Campfires are a staple of camping trips: roasting marshmallows, telling campfire stories, communicating laughter, and making memories are all things that a campfire brings to your camping trip.
Mainly it is considerable to note that about 33% of campers usually plan their trips a month to be proactive.
Although campfires are thought of primarily for their ability to make a bond between you and those sitting around you, campfires also has the potential to be very dangerous if not managed with the prudence of outdoor fire safety.
Campfire accidents send many young and older adults to the emergency room with burn injuries every year.
Burns account for 74 percent of all youth injuries at camp, and about 50 percent of youth admitted to hospitals with burns are under age 4.
What are the essential tips for camping?
Use only the rings or wells designated for setting your fire. These pits should be on gravel or dirt, not grass.
Clean the area of dry leaves and sticks and make sure that cars, operating tents, caravans, and other items are placed at a prominent distance from the fire.
Check the weather forecast. Even a small amount of wind can throw burning debris or sparks onto a flammable area or you.
Stack more wood against the wind and away from the campfire.
Avoid starting a fire with flammable liquid. Avoid gasoline, lighter fluid, diesel fuel, and other hazardous liquids to avoid accidents and serious injury. When placing large pieces of wood in the fire, point them inward, and use another wood piece to move them to the expected location. Keep your fire small and contained. A suggested size would be a 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 2 ft. fire.
Never allow young people and pets to play or stand too close to the fire and never leave the fire unsupervised. Remember to have a bucket of water. Also, a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency and teach young people to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch on fire. Learn to refill the freshwater tank during camping.
When putting out the fire, be sure to drown the fire completely with water. Many people forget that coals that don’t cool down or go out have a chance to stay warm and can cause burns for up to 24 hours.
Campfires are a fundamental part of the camping experience.
Stories are told around them, practices are roasted in them, bodies are warmed, and memories are created. The preferable way to prevent these memories from becoming a horror story is to follow some simple and indispensable safety tips for the campfire.
Also, it is essential to take into account that sometimes bonfires are not allowed. Check with the local sector to determine if there are any fire restrictions at the site you plan to visit.
Safety Basics on Camping Fire
Know the rules
First of all, it is considered to read well the campfire safety poster
Before lighting a match, make sure you understand the camp’s fire regulations or wilderness area where you plan to set a fire. You should check for posters on fire safety.
Rules about fire change and a camp that let fires burn the last time you visited may have a temporary ban if wildfire involvement is prominent.
Pay attention to posted signs and check with the ranger station to understand recent campfire regulations. Also, there are some factors which should be considered while camping.
Sometimes trail areas are closed due to forest fires or extreme fire hazards.
Ideally, the trail should remain closed for some time after the fire is 100% contained. The PCTA and local agencies are working to minimize the hazards the fire created. It can be a lot of work and take a while.
Fire safety starts well before the fire burns. When examining your fire pit, make sure it is not under low hanging branches or near brush or shrubs.
Use the hole
Most camps offer a campfire or a ring of fire in which a campfire can be held.
If a well is provided, this is the only place to build a fire. If you are in a remote area where fires are accepted, but a well is not offered, dig a fire pit in an open area away from hanging branches, power lines, or other hazards that could catch fire.
When the well has been dug, surround the pit with rocks, making sure there is a ten-foot section near the well that is free of anything that could catch fire.
Build a safe campfire
When your well is in place, build a safe campfire.
Start the fire with dry leaves or grass that burns quickly. Now, add firewood, small twigs, and sticks that are less than an inch in diameter.
As you increase the fire, add the most important pieces of wood to the fire. They will keep the fire burning longer and provide heat. Keep in mind that your fire has no reason to be roaring. A small, rock-covered fire will produce enough heat for both cooking and heating.
To avoid unfriendly fighting with an animal, pack your food in airtight, waterproof containers and store them in an insulated cooler.
In the same way, you can avoid health abnormalities transmitted by food. For this, wash your hands and separate raw food from cooked food.
Storing your food in a car, a bear-proof container, or a grocery store locker can avoid attracting unwanted wildlife.
Make sure to avoid touching and feeding animals; however, if you have physical contact with an animal, it is ideal for washing your hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Test your safety well
- Although most camps have a fire pit, not in all cases you are prepared to start when the time comes for your first fire.
- To the last campers who used it, it is feasible that you should take some additional camping safety measures:
- Clean up all debris near the fire pit, including trash and grass. There should be a five-foot dirt perimeter near the fire pit.
- If there is no metal ring, surround the fire pit with rocks. If your fire increases in size, this will help keep it within the fire pit’s parameters.
- Keep any flammable items away from the fire. This has aerosol cans and pressurized containers inside.
- If at any time you have any questions, you can always call your camp rangers. Campfire safety is your top priority, and rangers can check whether the fire pit is ready for use. It is still preferable to prevent the well from healing.
- You must choose a particular space that is protected from the wind. It should be at least 15 feet away from your tent, set, and anything flammable.
- Clear a 10-foot diameter area near your fire pit by removing leaves, grass, and anything else that will burn to the ground.
- Do not build a fire near plants or under tree branches or other flammable material that hangs over your head.
- If allowed, dig a fire pit, precisely 1 foot deep, in the center of the cleared area.
- Build a ring of fire near the hole with rocks to make a barrier.
While in development, you should
- Keep the fire reduced.
- Sudden wind gusts have the potential to throw sparks at vegetation outside your cleared area, causing unexpected fires.
Watch out for phosphorus.
If you want to have a safe campfire, you will have to light it with a match and then make sure it is entirely off before you dispose of it.
Pour water over the match or throw it directly into the fire to burn it. You should not use lighter fluid, gas, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
Use local firewood
Although it may not be visible to the naked eye, the insects and diseases that kill trees have a chance to live on wood.
Go camping six hours later and decide to bring firewood from home. You could unknowingly carry insects and health abnormalities and inadvertently introduce them into the woods where they were not before. That is why you should consider using local firewood. Get the fire starter for lighting fire.
Local is defined as the closest good source of firewood that you can find. If feasible, collect firewood from the camp tent or nearby space.
Have water on hand
Don’t build a fire without having a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
The water can extinguish the runaway flames, and the shovel can be used to throw sand or dirt over any flame that jumps the perimeter of its ring of fire. Also, it is a custom capable of holding a few feet of earth outside your diluted ring of fire so that if a stray ember or flame jumps out of your fire pit, it will not gain traction.
Pay attention to the wind.
A strong breeze can blow your fire away in a moment. To ensure that an immediate gust of wind does not turn your fire into a forest fire keep everything flammable, including unused wood, upwind, and at least 15 feet away from the fire. The 15-foot rule also applies to the tent and clothing hung out to dry.
Use caution with youth and pets
It is not only the commitment of forest fires that you should take into account when camping. Campfires are the leading cause of injuries in youth camps in the U.S.
Teach your children about the risk of fire and not allow youth or pets near the campfire unless they are in an adult’s lap. Teach young people how to stop, drop, and roll to assume that their clothes will catch fire.
Put out the fire properly, always.
When you are finished with your fire, make sure it is properly extinguished. Add water to the fire, stir the ashes with a shovel, and add more water to the fire. The fire should be cold before it is left unattended.
If it is hot enough to touch, then it is hot enough to get out. Massive logs will be less easy to extinguish than smaller logs, so make sure they are soaked with water as well.
Move the stones near the fire to check if there are burning embers hidden underneath. And never bury the embers of the fire. They can burn and start burning again.
Extinguish before going to bed
When it is time to go to bed, you should put out the fire. There are numerous ways to do this, but throwing water or earth on fire is always the preferable alternative.
Afterward, stir the coals with a shovel to make sure you don’t start another fire. It is best if the coals are wet and cold.
Most campers would agree that camping is not like this without a fire. However, a big trip is quickly ruined if someone gets hurt or something catches on fire.
Keep in mind the safety of campfires, and distraction will undoubtedly follow.
In the USA, nine out of 10 forest fires are caused by people who are not careful. If feasible, allow the fire to burn completely, turning it into ashes. Drown the ashes from the fire with plenty of water.
Use a shovel to combine the ashes and water into a “mud pie. Be sure to rub the edges of the fire to mix all the ashes. Drown the ashes again with water.
Safety Basics on Camping Fire: FAQ
Can you have a fire while camping?
Having a fire outdoors is commonly a key and satisfying part of camping.
The smell of wood smoke and the bursting and whistling of burning wood in a campfire will brighten up a night in the forest, mountains, or beach. However, you have to be sure to watch the fire.
How far away should a tent be from a fire?
It is 15 feet. Choose a sheltered space from wind and at least 15 feet from your tent, outfit, and anything flammable. Clean a 10-foot diameter area near the fire site by removing leaves, grass, and anything else that will burn to the ground.
How do you light a fire safely?
Start lighting a match or a gas lighter. Slowly move it closer to the tinder until the flame sparks and the tinder catches fire. Keep adding new pieces of wood as the fire burns, and the wood begins to disintegrate.
Camping belongs to the superior experiences that one can have as long as you are sure and take some precautions.
Robert A. McLean is the Editorial Director of Easy Trip Guides. He is an enthusiastic outdoorsman in training, outside experience instruction, ski guidance, and writing,