PHN News

Close-up of two marshmallows on a roasting stick with a blurry campfire in the background

Campfire Safety Tips

campfire-1031141_1920With fall rolling in, the evenings are getting cooler. But while some of us miss the warm summer nights, the rest of us are grabbing firewood and marshmallows! Autumn means campfires, complete with fire-roasted hot dogs and gooey s’mores. However, before you invite your friends over, make sure you know your campfire safety.First, it’s best to build a fire in a pre-dug or store-bought pit. If you’ve dug out a spot, it’s a good idea to line it with rocks to keep the fire from spilling out. If you have to build a fire on the ground, make sure to clear out any dried plants, sticks, or leaves. It’s best to have a flat, open area. The official Smoky the Bear website (remember him?) recommends building a fire at least 15 feet away from tents, plants, and other flammable items. Also, avoid low-hanging branches and take note of the wind and its direction.When it comes to building your fire, there are a few things you should have immediately available: a source of water; a bucket; and a shovel. Next, you’ll want to gather some wood, but it’s important to never take it from living or dead standing trees. The live trees won’t burn as well, because the wood still has water in it. The dead trees, while they’re still standing, are usually homes to small animals. Just look around on the ground for three main types of wood. First, gather tinder, which includes small twigs, dry leaves, grass, and needles. Second, get some kindling, the slightly larger sticks (Smokey the Bear says about 1-inch around). Finally, look for fuel. These are the logs and other larger pieces of dry wood that’ll get your marshmallows nice and gooey. You can also buy logs from the store, since some manufacturers make them specifically to burn longer than ones you’d find outside.Put the tinder in the pit first, and then lay the kindling over it. You can arrange the kindling however you want, but Smoky recommends placing it like a teepee if you plan on cooking, or in a cross or log cabin shape for a longer lasting fire. Using a match or lighter (or the closest adult if you’re not quite old enough yet), ignite the tinder. If you’re using a match, wait until it’s cold, and then discard it in the fire. As it starts to grow, add more tinder. Gently blowing on the fire gets more oxygen into it to help it grow. If you’re not comfortable blowing on it, you can use a flat object to fan the flames (like a piece of cardboard). Begin to add fuel, like the larger logs, once it gets bigger, and always keep an eye on it while it’s burning. Keep it small and under control.It’s also important to not burn dangerous things, like glass, cans, Styrofoam, or pressurized containers. They could shatter, explode, or release dangerous fumes. Make sure to supervise all children and pets the entire time the fire is burning.When you’re ready to extinguish your fire, it’s best to let the wood burn completely to ash. Then, using your bucket, pour water on the fire, drowning all the embers, not just the red ones. The easiest way to tell if it’s extinguished is to pour until the hissing sound stops. If you run out of water, add dirt or sand to the pit with your shovel. Before you leave, stir the remains with the shovel to make sure it’s out.And that’s it! Keep all this in mind, and you can spend less time worrying about the fire and more time focused on making the perfect s’more.

Category Uncategorized
Share Post