Camp fires smell great, look wonderful and are fun to sit around on a cool night in the woods. Campfires are great for cooking and making a steamy pot of coffee.
They are great for cookingThat said, camp fires can be hazardous as well. Knowing how to take care of a fire and how to stay safe around a fire is important for anyone who spends time around camp fires this summer.
Wear Tight Clothing
Loose fitting clothing can be a hazard when cooking or working around an open flame. For safety’s sake, campers must wear tight clothing when building, tending to and cooking over a camp fire. Even those who are not primarily caring for the fire should still wear fire-safe clothing to sit in the vicinity of the flames.
In the event that clothes do catch fire, it’s critical to remember the “stop, drop and roll” policy. Parents who camp with small children can practice this together with their kids as a fun safety exercise. This can be done by making a game of shouting “Stop! Drop! Roll!” and then mimicking the actions.
Keep Brush and Dry Leaves Away
Brush and dry leaves are a hazard around camp fires. Many parks will have fire rings or designated campfire areas to keep camp fires contained, and campers are required to build their fires inside these rings. Even when building a fire inside a ring, it’s still important to keep brush away from the flames. Flying sparks can cause fires to spread beyond the scope of the fire ring. Wild fires spread quickly in wooded areas, especially in the summer when conditions outside are very dry.
When clearing the area, it’s also important to remember that overhanging branches can catch fire as easily as brush on the ground. To ensure that the area is clear, campers must lookup at the leaves and needles overhead. If branches are too close for safely building a fire, then campers must relocate to a different area before building a fire.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended
Burning fires left unattended are a serious safety hazard that could lead to the destruction of property and loss of life. Campers should always extinguish fires before falling asleep or leaving the area. To extinguish a fire, campers must follow this procedure:
- Douse the area thoroughly with water.
- Use a shovel to mix the ashes and embers with the soil.
- Use the tip of the shovel to separate any remaining sticks and logs, then cover them in wet ashes and soil.
- Continue to douse the area with water and cover the sticks with soil if the area is not yet cool.
- Repeat step four until the entire area is cool.
Following this procedure can help campers to ensure that the fire they’ve made is completely extinguished.
Enforce Basic Safety Rules
Children should never play in the vicinity of a camp fire. All rough housing and physical activity should take place away from the fire. If someone does get burned, it’s important to have procedures in place to treat the injury. Campers must cool the area with cool water, then apply dressing and seek medical help immediately.
Follow Park Rules
Different parks have different rules to prevent forest fires. Following all rules and regulations is crucial for the safety of everyone in the park. Forest fires can cause millions of dollars in damage as well as loss of life. During times of drought, many parks will tighten their fire safety rules to prevent forest fires. Campers who have been to a specific park before must still check up on the rules with every visit, in case the conditions have changed and the rules are different. This helps ensure that everyone in the camping party can stay safe.