Campfire Safety: 8 Important Things to Keep in Mind

Ah, the epitome of the outdoors; the campfire. Sitting around with friends and family, roasting smores, and smelling the fresh pine smoke. But beware! Without proper campfire safety, the flames can inadvertently go out of control, setting your tent or the ground ablaze. Read on to learn to learn about campfire safety and start a fire without burning a forest down!

Campfire Safety - Camping Merit Badge

Here are the best ways to stay safe with fire in the outdoors:

Prepare the desired location for the campfire.

It is of utmost importance to choose and fix a location that allows you to make the safest campsite possible. Check out 4 Steps You Need to Take Before Starting a Fire to ensure your campsite is ready to roll.

Learn how to start a fire properly and safely.

This is a no-brainer. Definitely when it comes to campfire safety. None of the following tips will be helpful or particularly useful without knowing how to start a fire. For more info, please read How to Build and Start a Fire.

A great example of a well-started fire

Don’t throw random materials into your flame.

We all have a tendency to throw anything remotely flammable within arm’s reach into the fire. It’s no big surprise, though, that most of these products are toxic. Some things you should definitely not use as fuel for your fire include plastic, gasoline, trash, and even poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Only throw natural materials like tinder, kindling, and firewood.

Keep flammables away from fire.

Yet another obvious tip, but one that should be reiterated nonetheless. You would be surprised how many everyday items are flammable, such as aerosols and hand sanitizers, among others. You might want to pass on the spray deodorant… unless of course, you have some s’mores!

Watch for the direction of the wind, and put items on the other side of where the wind is blowing.

Fire has a tendency to spread, so do your best to keep the flames confined and under control by paying attention to the wind.

Never leave a fire unattended (especially with kids or pets around).

As we said before, fire moves quickly. Without care, a flame can easily turn into an inferno. In addition, if you are sitting around the campfire, situate yourself around 3-4 feet away from the fire pit for optimal campfire safety.

Keep water/dirt handy to put out fires in an emergency or a normal situation.

In an impending emergency, you can douse the flames with a well-aimed bucket of water. Under normal circumstances, feel free to use either dirt or water.

ALWAYS put out a fire (properly!)

This is the most important of all the tips listed here. Tying back into never leaving a fire unattended, you MUST remember to put out the fire. A very important yet overlooked procedure, read How to Put Out a Fire Safely to get a full step-by-step guide on what you need to do.

PRO TIP: Surround your fire with rocks (called a fire ring) to contain ash, charcoal, and stray flames. It also looks great! 

Although the outdoors have many things to offer, safety comes first throughout anything you set out to do, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you indulge yourself in the beauty of nature.

When proper precautions for fire safety are taken, campfires prove to be one of many great enjoyments of the outdoors. Stay safe and have fun!

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