Thread submission for campfire safety

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J Tosh Reed

Rank V
Member

Advocate II

1,740
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Member #

8090

Hey all, sorry I had posted this straight to the boot camp thread, but didn't see this thread so I removed and posted it here, sorry about the mixup.

I just noticed there wasn't a thread for this already so wanted to add it as I think its very necessary. This last spring, I put out over a dozen other campers fires in one month because people would just pack up and leave, probably assuming they had put it out "enough".

First off is knowing the legality of fires in your area. Let's all be good examples of overlanding and not burn where/when we are not supposed to.

Why should I care?
Forest fires are on the rise, and it is proven that the majority of them are caused by humans. Many local governments are also raising the amounts for fines, often into the hundreds and thousands of dollars range.
We all love the outdoors, or we wouldn't want to go spend time out there!

When can I have a campfire?
I know in many locations lately, (check your state/province/regional laws by checking local websites or contacting local offices) that in the summer, there is now total fire bans often starting in late spring/ first day of summer and lasting into fall due to droughts etc. This has caused us to change our fire habits here on the west coast and in other areas as well I'm sure.
For example: In a total fire ban, all fire capable of throwing sparks is 100% banned. We have a Biolight, a small, portable camp rocket stove that runs off twigs. Under the new fire ban regulations, this is banned all summer, along with campfires.
What IS allowed under that ban are fuel stoves (butane, propane, etc). We saw a lot of people this summer with propane fire pits, at least letting them have a semblance of a campfire. We have now switched to canister fuel so we can at least cook our food in the burn ban.

What should I prepare if I am burning? Let's refer to the basics for this one
  1. Dig a small pit away from overhanging branches.
  2. Circle the pit with rocks or be sure it already has a metal fire ring.
  3. Clear a five-foot area around the pit down to the soil.
  4. Keep a bucket of water (several gallon size standard bucket) and a shovel nearby.
  5. Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
  6. After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold or soaked in water.
  7. Never leave a campfire unattended, not even for a minute. This last one is really important. I have seen so many people say to themselves (well I'm gonna be back in a few minutes, it will be ok...)
And how to best put OUT the campfire.
  1. If possible, allow the wood to burn completely to ash.
  2. Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops
  3. stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire
  4. With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed and still smoldering.
  5. Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool.
  6. Remember if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. If you still see smoke, there is still a fire.
Hope this is helpful. I know many of us know these things, but a refresher is always good, and a useful place to refer to. Remember if we see anyone else out there not being fire safe, lets give them a friendly reminder of how to safely have a fire, and if we see anyone abandon a fire, lets do our part as good ambassadors and put it out properly.
Cheers all!
 

J Tosh Reed

Rank V
Member

Advocate II

1,740
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Member #

8090

Thanks!
Yep. So many people I've seen that just dump a bit of water and walk away. All it takes is a bit of wind to get those lower coals up and ignitng again.


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