Now that you’ve started a fire with How to Build and Start a Fire and enjoy it safely with Managing a Campfire, it’s time for the fun to end. By this, that means we need to put out the fire. Putting out a fire can be very simple, but is important to know nevertheless the proper technique; you don’t want to be the cause of a forest fire or worse!
Step 1: Let the Fire Burn Out
It is highly recommended that you follow this step and only put out the flame once it is dosed; it is much safer this way. This also makes your life easier, as it takes less effort to actually clean up. It also doesn’t waste your wood.
Step 2: Spread Out the Remains of the Fire
Spreading out the fuel ensures no ember is left smoldering after you douse the fire, and saves water and time.
Step 3: Douse the flames and Throw On Dirt
Now it’s time to grab some water and throw it over the fire. It’s alright to be generous with how much you use on putting it out: better safe than sorry. Keep pouring until the sizzling sound stops, then pour some more for good measure. You should remember to pick some water up well before you plan to put out the fire (read 4 Steps You Need to Take Before Starting A Campfire for more info on what materials to take). After that, throw some dirt on top to snuff out any remaining flames/cool down the embers further.
Note: Put out the firewood first, then the kindling, then the tinder. Read about the materials to start a fire here.
Step 4: Stir the Embers
Next, grab a long and thick stick and stir the dirt and push any embers around to smother them even further and dry up the site quickly.
PRO TIP: Use a shovel or stick to scrape off the embers from sticks, which can still start a fire.
Step 5: Check to See if the Pit is Still Hot
Finally, it’s time to evaluate your work! To check if there is still a chance of flame, place your hand above the dirt to feel any heat radiating from it. If you do feel heat, repeat Steps 3 and 4 until they are cool. Then, for a final check, touch the ground itself. If it’s all cool, you’re done!
Putting out a campfire properly is a procedure often overlooked while we’re out camping. A few extra steps can go a long way in preserving our parks and nature from the dangers of fire.