When camping during the summer months, it is important to practice campfire safety. This is especially the case when there hasn't been much rain and the forest vegetation is exceptionally dry. With that said, here's a quick rundown on five safety precautions that summer campers should consider taking:
Select an Appropriate Location
One of the most crucial safety precautions that you can take is to select a proper campfire location. You will want to avoid building your campfire near low hanging branches, tree roots and flammable structures. It is also a good idea to pay attention to wind direction and use pre-existing campfire rings whenever possible.
Ready the Campfire Area
Once you've selected your campfire's location, you'll want to prepare the area. Based on my experience, it is best to remove any excess debris from the area before attempting to build your campfire. The reason for doing so is that the sparks from the campfire have the potential to ignite excess debris and cause the fire to spread. I like using a children's hoe to clear my campfire area because it is effective and inexpensive. You can also shorten the handle so it will fit inside your backpack.
Use the Appropriate Campfire Fuel
Using appropriate fuel sources for your campfire will also help to keep you and your family safe. Flammable liquids and gels designed for starting campfires should be used cautiously. If the chemicals accidently get onto your person, you could end up with a severe burn. You'll also want to make sure that you don't throw things into the fire that can explode or give off toxic fumes. Examples of items that should never be thrown into a campfire include batteries and plastic bags.
Supervise the Campfire Area Continuously
A responsible adult should always be present while a campfire is burning. Extinguished campfire areas should also be monitored for at least 16 hours after the flames have gone out because the embers retain heat. In addition, there is a chance that the campfire might re-ignite. I'd also recommend that parents do not leave their children unsupervised around extinguished or active campfires because both are known to cause serious burns.
Completely Extinguish the Campfire
You will also want to make sure that your campfire is completely extinguished. I like to do that by dousing the campfire with several buckets of water and moving the embers around with a metal object. I have found that moving the embers around helps me to uncover any pieces of timber that may still be burning.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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