10 Campfire Security Suggestions


A mean of seven.5 million acres of forest are impacted by wildfires annually. And nearly 85% of wildfires are brought on by people.

These statistics might look fairly bleak, however the excellent news is that it means a lot of the hearth harm accomplished to our forests annually may be prevented. With a bit of additional prep, attentiveness, and care, we will all make a big influence on the way forward for our pure areas. On this article we’ll define how one can safely take pleasure in a hearth open air.

10 Hearth Security Suggestions

DON’T MAKE A FIRE – The easiest way to minimize the influence of campfires on our pure areas is to only do with out them. Positive, fires are enjoyable. However much more enjoyable is having stunning locations we will all take pleasure in for years to return. Beneath this record of suggestions, we define our favourite methods to remain cozy at camp with out hearth.

A hiker bundled up in a backpacking quilt at a campsite

We love backpacking quilts that open fully as a result of we will use them like a blanket at camp

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE CURRENT FIRE DANGER LEVEL IN THE AREA At all times examine with the company that manages the land you’ll be on to get probably the most up-to-date data on the hearth hazard degree. To search out this information, seek the advice of your county’s web site or make a name or internet go to to the Bureau of Land Administration, Nationwide Forest Service, state and native parks, and different businesses. 

A chart showing fire danger levels and what they mean

CHECK FOR FIRE RESTRICTIONS BEFORE YOU GO Much like the purpose above, you also needs to examine to see if there are hearth rules for the precise space you’re going to. This data shall be extra particular than the overall hearth hazard degree for an space, and should embrace restrictions akin to no fires above a sure elevation, no fires inside a sure distance of a pure function, no fires on sure days, and many others.

Particular details about hearth rules in a wilderness space can normally be discovered within the prime proper of the managing company’s web site. in emergency conditions, you’ll usually see an advisory up prime as effectively

USE ESTABLISHED FIRE RINGS Established hearth rings are the most secure locations to construct a hearth. They are often discovered at most established campsites in campgrounds and typically even in wilderness websites. Ensure that to clear and pack out any trash discovered within the ring and clear away pure gasoline sources earlier than beginning your hearth. For campsites that don’t have a hearth ring, choose a spot that’s freed from dry natural materials and make a bit of ring out of rocks to include your hearth. Earlier than you permit, be sure your hearth is totally extinguished and scatter the rocks you used to protect the wild look of the world. Within the frontcountry, hearth pans (like an oil change pan) or portable fire pits are secure methods to include fires.

A person adding a twig to a fire in the Solo Stove Campfire Stove

Moveable hearth pits, just like the Solo STove Campfire Stove (above) or the bigger Solo Stove Bonfire, are secure methods to include your flames when a hearth ring isn’t accessible

CLEAR DEAD/DRY DEBRIS AWAY FROM YOUR FIRE RING – Earlier than beginning your hearth, do a fast sweep across the perimeter to clear useless leaves, twigs, and different pure gasoline sources away out of your hearth. Cal Fire recommends clearing out an space 10 toes in diameter in your hearth.

A person standing next to a fire in a fire ring at a campsite

Clear useless leaves & different natural matter away out of your hearth ring & retailer additional wooden at a secure distance

KEEP YOUR FIRE SMALL Everybody loves the attract of a roaring hearth, but it surely’s not mandatory or definitely worth the danger to the land. Smaller fires nonetheless produce an pleasing quantity of warmth and lightweight, they usually’re a lot simpler to burn to ash and totally extinguish once you’re accomplished.

A hiker sitting next to a small fire in a fire ring at a campsite

Small fires are a lot safer & will nonetheless hold you heat & comfy

DON’T LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED – It might be tempting to go away a hearth smoldering whilst you step away for a number of hours to hike in order that it’s simpler to get it going once more once you return. However you shouldn’t ever depart your hearth unattended. Winds can shortly change and carry little embers an incredible distance.

Two people sitting in camp chairs next to a campfire on a beach

Hold a detailed eye in your hearth and have water close by to douse it fully earlier than going to sleep

EXTINGUISH FIRES COMPLETELY USING WATER – Ensure you at all times fully extinguish your hearth with water earlier than going to sleep or leaving your website. We use a large water jug within the frontcountry or a lightweight water pouch within the backcountry for extinguishing fires. Utilizing sand or filth isn’t almost as efficient at fully dousing a hearth, so it’s not advisable to make use of it for placing out your flame. The Leave No Trace group says it’s best to “burn all wooden to white ash, grind small coals to ash, totally soak with water, and scatter the stays over a big space away from camp. Ashes might need to be packed out in river corridors.”

A full platypus pouch sitting on a table next to a camp stove in the desert

Platypus water pouches are a great way to retailer water for dousing fires

KEEP EXTRA WATER CLOSE BY IN CASE BURNING DEBRIS ESCAPES FROM YOUR FIRE – It occurs typically – your wooden pops and sends sparks flying or a rogue gust of wind carries some burning ash away. Pay shut consideration to what your hearth is doing always, and be prepared with additional water to extinguish something that escapes out of your hearth ring. Even tiny little embers can begin devastating fires. We normally hold a large water jug with us within the frontcountry and a lightweight water pouch within the backcountry.

Two people in a forest sitting next to a fire in the Solo Stove Campfire Stove

Have water shut by to extinguish embers that escape out of your hearth

KEEP EXTRA WOOD, GEAR & OTHER FLAMMABLES AWAY FROM FIRE – Hold any paper, rubbish, additional firewood, liquid/fuel gasoline, and different flammable supplies a secure distance out of your hearth ring. For those who’re hanging out subsequent to a hearth together with your sleeping bag or a camp blanket, be sure free ends don’t get too near the hearth.

BE ATTENTIVE WITH YOUR GAS STOVES/LANTERNS The danger of beginning a hearth from a gas lantern or range is fairly low, but it surely’s nonetheless good to deal with this stuff with care since they’re a supply of flame. Additional precautions must be used with alcohol stoves since they burn fast and scorching, they usually produce invisible flames. We usually advocate avoiding alcohol stoves as a result of we don’t suppose their weight financial savings is definitely worth the danger they arrive with.

It’s safer to make use of your range away from dried grass, leaves, and different flammable materials


FIREWOOD The sort and measurement of wooden you select is essential in addition to the place it comes from. Beneath are some suggestions to bear in mind.

  • By no means convey any wooden from dwelling – Solely begin fires with wooden that’s bought or gathered from the world you’ll be having fun with your hearth in. Wooden from elsewhere can introduce pests or invasive flora to an space.

  • Dimension – For those who’ll be gathering wooden, solely acquire branches and twigs which might be concerning the measurement of an grownup wrist in diameter. Wooden of this measurement will burn faster, so that you don’t have half burnt smoldering logs to take care of. For those who’re bringing logs that you simply’ve bought, begin with a few items and solely add extra as soon as these have nearly fully burned down.

  • Depart standing deadwood Don’t pull branches or twigs off of standing deadwood. Useless bushes present shelter and nesting sights for animals and delicate flora can develop there.

  • Don’t chop down stay bushes or branches – Solely collect fallen twigs and branches from the bottom. Chopping stay bushes and branches can disrupt wildlife habitats and spoil the wild look of pure areas. Inexperienced wooden doesn’t burn effectively anyway, is difficult to separate, and produces extra smoke.

  • Scatter unused wooden – It’s a pleasant thought to go away unused wooden you’ve gathered for the following particular person, but it surely’s significantly better for the pure house in the event you scatter what you didn’t burn. It will protect the pure look of the house and shall be much less disruptive to wildlife.

A hiker in the snow carrying an armload of gathered wood

Branches which might be concerning the diameter of an grownup wrist shall be simpler to burn fully

FIRE & SMOKE MAPS – For those who’re planning to recreate in an space which may be impacted by lively fires, seek the advice of a fire and smoke map to guage whether or not it’s secure to take action. Be ready to pivot to a different journey plan if the air high quality is at unhealthy ranges or if there may be potential for a hearth to unfold to the world you wished to go to.

A screenshot of a fire and smoke map

Fire and smoke maps will provide you with particulars about air high quality and the way massive fires are

ALTERNATIVES TO FIRES – It may be a bummer to search out out that the place you’ve picked to camp in doesn’t permit fires. However there are many different issues you are able to do to maintain heat or create a pleasant atmosphere. Listed below are a few of favourite methods create a comfy camp with out fires:

A person standing in a campsite in the desert wrapped up in a camp blanket

Utilizing a camp blanket, just like the Therm-a-Rest Juno, is a secure & efficient solution to keep cozy at camp

LEAVE NO TRACE – Lots of the suggestions we define on this article had been realized from finding out and working towards the Leave No Trace Principles. We encourage everybody to turn into accustomed to all of those tips earlier than heading out into the wilderness.

A wooden sign that reads pack it in pack it out please pack out all trash

Studying the Leave No Trace Principles is one of the simplest ways to make sure you’re leaving as small an influence as potential on a pure house

STARTING FIRES IN HARSH CONDITIONS – Hearth is likely one of the most essential instruments for security. For those who’re caught out in a storm with out satisfactory gear for cover, it might prevent from publicity. It’s tough to get a hearth moving into moist circumstances, however not unattainable. We put collectively this video that will help you discover ways to construct a hearth in moist circumstances, and we additionally reiterate a number of hearth security suggestions.

Extra Data

We hope this information helps you safely take pleasure in fires open air. As at all times, please depart a remark under when you’ve got any suggestions, questions, or options or go to our Facebook page and Instagram to affix the neighborhood dialog. For those who discovered this evaluate useful, please share on social media and click on the little coronary heart button under to present us a digital excessive 5!

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