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Campfire Safety

Many people will want to have a fire when going camping. Here are a few tips on safety and how to construct a fire.

Make sure that your campground allows campfires. You should not build a fire if it is windy.

First, you must find a safe spot to build the fire. You want a clear area about fifteen feet away from flammable items, such as your tent, shrubs, and trees. Also watch out for overhanging branches.

Once you find a good spot it is time to set up the fire pit. Clear any leaves, sticks, etc in a good diameter from where you intend to build the pit. Dig a small pit about a foot deep to build to fire in. Then circle the pit with rocks. Keep a bucket of water and hover nearby in case the fire spreads.

Next, gather up some dry wood and separate it into three piles; the smallest pieces, medium sized pieces, and larger pieces. Be sure to use only dry wood found on the ground, because live wood doesn't burn as well. Pile some of the small sticks in the center of the pit. You can light them with a piece of paper or cardboard. Once you get it going, let it burn and slowly add more small pieces until it is burning nicely. Then gradually move to the medium sized pieces and the larger pieces accordingly. Be careful not to add pieces that are too large too quickly because it can smother the fire. Once you get the fire going, be sure to keep it at a manageable size, and never leave it unattended.

When you’re ready to put out the fire, you can either use water or dirt. If you use water, you want to pour water on the fire until it stops hissing. Stir the embers around and make sure they are cool and saturated. If using dirt or sand, don't simply bury the fire. Throw the dirt on the fire and use the shovel to stir embers until they become cool, adding more dirt as needed.