Fire’s a tricky friend of humans and our forests. It provides heat, and a means of cooking for humans. It can trigger the re-birth of forest Eco-systems, and help fire-dependent plants and trees. It can also be devastating, burning out of control, destroying homes, and causing death. In 2015 alone, there were 58,916 human caused wildfires that burned over 2 million acres throughout the US. (SmokeyBear.com)
As we near the end of summer, there is a lot of camping, hot weather, minimal rain. And these can all add up to increased fire danger.
Living with a forest nearby, fire danger is something the community is aware of, and lives with throughout the summer. While controlled burns are used regularly to control and prevent fires, many wildfires still occur throughout the summer.
The danger in wildfires is that they endanger our homes, our wildlife, and occasionally, our lives. And while we agree, it’s hard to get that “camping” feeling without a campfire, we also realize it’s hard to get that feeling from barren lands, dead trees, and ashes.
So, to prevent wildfires from ruining everyone’s summer holidays, here are some quick tips to keep your campfire from becoming a wildfire:
- Build your fire in an area that’s protected from wind gusts, and that’s at least 15 feet from your tent, gear, and anything flammable.
- Clear an area that’s ten feet in diameter from your campfire of all debris, so you only see dirt.
- Don’t build your fire under plants or trees, make sure there’s nothing flammable overhead.
- Dig a one-foot deep pit for your fire in the center of your cleared area (make sure it’s allowed at your campground!).
- Build a fire ring around your pit with rocks to create a barrier.
- DON’T use flammable liquids to start your fire!
- Start your fire by lighting tinder first, then kindling, then firewood.
- While your fire is burning, make sure to keep it small.
- Keep water and a shovel nearby, in case you need to put out your fire quickly.
- Make sure an adult is always monitoring the fire!
- Keep an eye on the weather as well, as sudden wind gusts can blow sparks outside of your fire pit into nearby vegetation.
- When you’re putting out your fire, try to let it burn all the way down to ashes.
- Drown the ashes completely with water, even if you think it’s all the way out.
- Use your shovel to stir the water and ashes into a mud. Then add more water to the ashes.
- Hold your hand over (NOT IN) the ashes to make sure the ashes are no longer putting off any heat. If you feel more heat, stir more water into the ashes.
- When the ashes are cold, disassemble the fire ring and scatter the rocks (only if you assembled the fire ring. If the fire ring was already there, make sure to fill the ring with wet dirt.)
Here are our current wildfires:
And please, don’t play in or near the fire while it’s lit. We really want you to enjoy your trip!
If you would like to learn more about fire safety, and how it effects our wilderness, please visit SmokyBear.com