When people think of summer, a lot of people think about sitting around a fire, whether it be a firepit in their backyard or roasting marshmallows around a campfire. But did you know that in the United States, nearly nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people not being careful? Here’s some advice from the National Fire Protection Association on how you can enjoy being around your fire safely!
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Make sure to remove anything flammable downwind of the pit. If it is too windy, do not light your fire.
- Do not use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire.
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting or flammable (like nylon) clothing.
- Avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar because they can ‘pop’ and throw sparks.
- Also avoid putting garbage or paper products in the fire, as these will also spark and throw off embers or burning remnants.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, a shovel, or bucket of water nearby.
- These will help extinguish any escaped flames and to put out the fire itself.
- Never leave a fire unattended!
Special Tips for Campfires:
- Use local firewood
- Tree killing insects and diseases live on firewood, so help reduce introducing invasive species and diseases to different locations. Seek out local firewood, which you can usually pick up from a campground camp store or gas stations.
- Use a pit
- Most campgrounds provide a fire pit or fire ring – if a pit is provided, this is the only place you should build a campfire. If you are in a remote area where campfires are allowed and a pit isn’t provided, dig a fire pit in an open area away from overhanging branches and circle it with rocks.
- Know the rules!
- Make sure you know the fire regulations of the campground or wilderness area where you are planning on building a fire. Be aware that fire rules change, and a campground that allowed fires last time you visited may have a temporary ban on them if the risk of wildfires is high.