Fire Safety

Many of us have fond memories of sitting around a fire late into the night enjoying the crackle of flames, the company of friends, and the peaceful calm that comes with an evening out in nature. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are starting a fire whether out on the trail or in your backyard courtesy of ReserveAmerica and Bearfoot Theory

First and Foremost

Know the regulations and rules for fires wherever you are as well as keep an eye out for any signs that may be posted in places like trailheads. Don’t take fire bans or high fire danger warnings lightly, if they are posted there is a good reason.

Use the established firepit. If there isn’t one, dig your own. It should be about 1 foot deep. Make sure that there aren’t any branches or any other objects that could catch on fire nearby or hanging. A good rule of thumb is 15 feet from anything flammable. Line the edge of the pit with rocks as a barrier to help keep the fire contained. 

Close up of firepit. Image Credits: David Hoole

Stacks of wood. Image Credits: David Hoole

Wood, there's more to it than it seems.

Only use local firewood. Make sure that you use wood from the local area, if you bring it with you from somewhere else you could unknowingly be bringing diseases or insects that kill trees into the area. In this context, local means the closest convenient source.

In addition to only using local firewood, how and where you gather the wood, especially out on the trail, is really important. Only use wood that you find on the ground, don’t cut down living or even dead trees that are still standing. 

Keep it under Control

Keep water handy. This one may seem quite obvious but it is much better to have water and not need it than to have none but need it. Having a little on hand makes controlling the fire that much easier and can give everyone peace of mind, especially if you are in a drier climate or season. 

Properly put out the fire. This is a big one and could be considered the most important. The fire should be cold before you leave. This means more than just no flames left, if the ashes are too hot to touch then the fire is not out and it could potentially re-ignite. 

Canvas Water Bucket. Image Credits: David Hoole

Firepit in the woods. Image Credits: David Hoole

S'mores and More

This is a condensed list so if you are interested in going more in depth check out the links above and don’t be afraid to do your own research too. The biggest takeaway is to just be conscious of what you are doing and pay attention, it can definitely get easy to be complacent which is when accidents happen. With that being said, be safe but have fun, go out and make a s’more or two… or three. We won’t judge if it’s before dinner (we do it too).


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