Camping is an awesome way to get outdoors and explore everything that nature has to offer. Unfortunately, many wildfires that destroy thousands of acres of land, homes and wildlife are started by campers. Knowing when it is safe to burn a fire and following proper safety precautions can keep accidental wildfires from occurring.
Wildfires were the cause of over 3,500 deaths in the United States in 2017 alone. That number has decreased quite a bit since 2007. We hope that articles like this one are one of the reasons there has been a steady decline in wildfire deaths. Play your part in keeping our land and others safe by following a few simple safety precautions.
One of the many considerations that campers must have, however, is how to set up their campfire in a way that will provide them with heat and light without endangering others by spreading the fire to the surrounding wilderness.
Here are some tips to help you create a safe fire pit:
- Do not create a campfire if it is prohibited. There are legitimate safety concerns behind campfire prohibitions, and they should not be taken lightly.
- Ensure that the area you are in is not prone to wildfires or to dry conditions in general. DO NOT create a fire if the location or conditions are unsafe!
- Create your fire at least 15-20 feet away from your camp utilities and forest elements such as trees, shrubs, and organic debris. Also be aware of wind strength and direction; make your fire in an area that is least affected by wind.
- Dig about a foot into the ground where you have chosen for your fire, and place a circle of rocks around the pit. The rocks will help to prevent the fire or its embers from escaping the pit
As a precaution, make sure that you have water, a shovel, or both by your fire. Pouring water on the fire or shoveling dirt on it is a quick way to extinguish a fire before it becomes dangerous.