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Camp Side Safety: Tips for Building Campfires

Whether you’re at home in the wilderness or one night of camping will satisfy you for years, a night spent under the moon can be a way to bond with friends or family. Nothing beats a night in front of a campfire toasting marshmallows and telling stories. Besides your tent, sleeping bag, and other provisions, the most important part of your adventure is the camp fire. Camp fires bring warmth and light to your outdoor adventure as well as supplying you with many great tasting meals that you can’t get anywhere else. Since the campfire is the centerpiece of your camping experience, here are some great tips on how to safely make and use a fire while camping.

  • Be Aware of Rules and Regulations: Different camp sites have different rules regarding building a camp fire. Make it a point to familiarize yourself with the campsite rules and regulations. Site owners create these rules to prevent you, fellow campers, and the wildlife from the danger that fire can present.
  • Choose a Proper Site for Your Campfire: If your camping in a heavily used area then you should have no problem finding a location for your campfire. Many popular campsites have areas that are obviously cleared and designated for fires. If you are in a location where there is no apparent campfire site build one in an area that meets the following criteria:
    • Do not build a fire in a area filled with trees and shrubberies that over hang or are extremely close as it can easily result in a fire.
    • Once your find a good location for your fire, clear the ground of all dry leaves, sticks, and other debris that can ignite and create a quickly spreading fire.
  • Don’t Set up Tent Down Wind From Your Fire: It’s a good idea to find place to make a campfire then set up your tent. This ensures that your tent doesn’t end up down wind from your camp fire. It also will supply you with much needed light should it turn dark before your finished setting up camp.
  • Bring the Proper Supplies: Since a campfire is going to be your number once source for hot food, be sure to come prepared to utilize it for cooking. Bring items that can be safely placed in the fire like cast iron cookware and fire friendly cooking utensils. The following items will be extremely useful when cooking over a fire:
    • Aluminum Foil
    • Fire Safe pots and pans
    • Fire safe cooking utensils
    • Hot pads and cooking mitts
    • Grilling/Cooking Rack
    • Jug of Clean Water
    • Soap (Preferably biodegradable)
    • Fire Friendly Kettle (for hot beverages)

    Never Leave Your Fire Unattended: As a camper, it’s your responsibility to care for the campfire you’ve started. Never leave a campfire burning unattended. Should the worst happen and the fire spreads you will be responsible for destroying nature.

  • Properly Extinguish Fire: In order to preserve beautiful camping locations you need to make sure you properly extinguish your campfire. Douse the flames by pouring water on the campfire. Once the flames have died down you will most likely still have some red embers that can easily ignite kindling causing a fire. To ensure this does not happen, use dirt or sand from your campsite to cover any fire remnants.
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