There's nothing like the sweet smell of marshmallows toasting over an open fire, or hot dogs roasting on a stick. But, when cooking and camping, campfire safety is of utmost importance.
So, before you get dinner started, you need to be sure you're not just enjoying a gourmet meal, but staying safe while you do. Here are five simple fire safety tips for your next camping adventure.
Step 1: Look Up and Around
Campfire safety starts well before the fire gets roaring. When scouting out your fire pit, make sure it's not under any low hanging branches or near brush or bushes. These can easily go up in flames if the fire gets bigger than anticipated.
You should also keep an 8 to 10 foot radius clear of anything, including tents, chairs and food.
More: 10 Car Camping Tips
Step 2: Safety Proof Your Pit
While most campgrounds have a pit already dug out, it's not always ready to go when it comes time for your first fire. Depending on who was there before, there may be some additional safety measures to take.
- Clear all debris from around the fire pit, including garbage and grass. There should be a 5-foot perimeter of soil around the campfire space.
- If there is no metal ring, circle the pit with rocks. If your fire grows in size, this will help keep it within these borders.
- Keep any flammable items far from the fire. This includes aerosol cans and pressurized containers.
If you ever have any questions, you can always call over your campground ranger. Campfire safety is their number one priority, and rangers can double check whether the pit is ready to use or not. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Step 3: Have Water Nearby
A big gust of wind or new piece of wood could cause your fire to grow larger than anticipated. In that case, you want to always have water, dirt or a shovel nearby to help reduce the flames or put it out completely if necessary. Controlling the fire can be just as important as putting it out.