Tips & Tricks - Campfire Safety Tips
Tips & Tricks ARCHIVE
Campfire Safety Tips
RVing and campfires go hand-in-hand, but the hot, dry months of camping season
often mean dangerous conditions that could bring a disastrous end to your bon
fire. Be aware of drought conditions and burn restrictions near your campsite
and follow these campfire safety tips to help keep your fire under control.
Know the Fire Restrictions in Your Area
Before heading out on your camping trip, do an internet search for the drought
conditions for your destination, and when you arrive, check with rangers or the
campground office for fire restrictions. Depending on weather conditions, all
fires may be banned, or the use of campfires may be limited to those in fire
rings only. Some fire restrictions still allow for outdoor cooking, but limit
cooking to charcoal cooking fires in campsite metal fire rings, self-contained
portable grills, and permanently mounted picnic grills. It is your
responsibility to know the specifics of all restrictions before you spark a
Pick A Safe Place to Build Your Fire
If building a campfire is permitted, use the fire ring provided by the
campground, or choose a location that is downwind from your site and clear of
combustible materials such as pine needles and dry grass. When building your own
fire pit, be sure to surround it with rocks to help contain the flames.
Never Use Flammable Liquids
Crumpled newspaper or other naturally flammable kindling are safer ways
to get your blaze started. Gasoline or other flammable liquids can create large
flames that can quickly get out of control, especially in dry conditions.
Make Sure Your Fire Is Extinguished
The best way to know your fire is completely out is to let all the wood burn to
ash before leaving your campsite or turning in for the night. Sometimes,
however, that is easier said than done as a well-constructed campfire could take
several hours to completely burn out. If you are short on time, water is your
best extinguisher. Pour water over all of the embers, not just the red ones.
This may take several gallons, and you will know you have used enough when you
no longer hear a hissing noise when the water makes contact with what used to be
your campfire. Use a shovel that is at least 26 inches long with an eight-inch
blade to stir the ashes and embers until everything is cool to the touch. Use
dirt or sand if you do not have enough water. Stir the dirt with the ashes and
embers until it is cool to the touch, adding more dirt if needed. Do not simply
cover the fire with dirt or sand. Embers underneath can continue to smolder and
possibly ignite underground tree roots. Eventually, this fire could reach the
surface and launch a wildfire.
More Campfire Safety Tips
Don’t burn or start a campfire in windy conditions.
Keep fires small.
Don't wear flammable or loose clothing near a fire.
Keep children and pets away from the fire.
Never leave a fire unattended.
Always keep a fire extinguisher with your camping gear.