Campfire Safety For The Fall
The temperature has started to drop here in Florida (by drop I mean that the highs are merely 92ºF as opposed to 102ºF) signaling the beginning of campfire season. Before you grab your guitar and head for the pit, there are a few safety issues that you should remember.
- If at a campground, ask if they already have fire pits or fire rings. If so, use those. If they don’t have any fire pits, make sure to ask if campfires are allowed. If they are allowed, ask for guidelines about building a fire at their campground.
- If you are starting from scratch and there is not already a fire pit that you can use, make sure that your chosen location is at least 15 feet from anything flammable or from any structures (i.e., from tent walls, house walls, trees, shrubs). And double-check that there are not any overhanging branches as these can be especially dangerous.
- It is ideal to choose a spot that is downwind from your home/tent and gear and/or that is sheltered from the wind.
- Before getting started, circle the area 10 feet around your chosen location picking up and discarding any leaves, twigs or other bits of flammable material.
- For instructions on how to build a a basic fire pit head over to SmokeyBear.com.
- For instructions on how to build a fire pit for cooking head over to eartheasy.com.
- Keep a big bucket of water near the fire at all times.
- Never put glass in a fire. It will not melt but will heat up and shatter. The shards are very dangerous.
- Never put aluminum cans into the fire. They break down into smaller pieces when heated. As they do so, they produce a dust that is harmful if inhaled.
- When you’re done, it is best to wait until the fire has died out to ashes on its own. At that point, douse the area in water (if there are embers remaining, wet them all and not just the red ones). Use a shovel to stir up the ash and embers with the liquid so that everything is wet and cool. DO NOT bury the fire or any warm or smoldering embers. A fire could start or continue to burn underground and could even catch roots on fire which can begin a wildfire.
- At all times, keep pets and small children back from the fire. Keeping pets in the house or in your tent and encouraging children to stay seated several feet away from the fire are good strategies.
- Keep your eye on the fire at all times.
- Stay safe and have fun!
Be sure to come back next week for some great campfire recipe suggestions. Until then, Happy Campfiring!