Enjoying the great outdoors exchanging stories in front of a roaring fire under a starry night sky makes for a memorable experience. But it also comes with a huge responsibility and presents hazards if you’re not careful. Luckily, we have Smokey Bear to help guide novice and seasoned campers alike on safety guidelines to make every camping trip successful. Let's take a look at these key campfire safety tips to bear in mind as you plan your next RV rental road trip.
Check for Burn Bans and Weather Hazards
Everyone loves sitting by the campfire on a cool night telling stories and roasting marshmallows. Before cracking open the chocolate and graham crackers, make sure there aren’t any burn bans in the area. This campfire safety information is generally available on your campground’s website, at the onsite ranger station, or on message boards throughout the grounds. You can also keep an eye out for Smokey Bear signs, which have the current level of fire danger updated regularly.
Just because there’s a burn ban doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite camping treat! Simply bake those delicious s’more bites ahead of time and take them with you!
Photo Credit: The First Year Blog
Only Build Campfires In Designated Fire Pits
Most sites that allow campfires will provide a designated area for that purpose. This could be a campsite grill or fire ring –– generally in the form of a sheet of metal or large rocks in a circular form. These structures are designed to contain fires and prevent sparks from getting out of place. Prevent a chorus of “We didn’t start the fire!” by keeping this campfire safety tip in mind and your campfires in designated pits.
Clear the Area
Even when building campfires in a designated pit, it is important to ensure that the area surrounding the ring is free of debris. Since fires can spark or pop as the wood burns, it’s best to clear the campsite. By removing any loose twigs or leaves, you can ensure that a stray ember won’t accidentally light something you didn’t intend. Plus, it’s a great way to keep the youngest members of your camping group occupied while you set up camp
(parenting for the win!).
Teach and Practice Campfire Safety
Campfire safety starts with adults, but children play a part too. Take the time to explain to the kiddos how to act around fire. Smokey Bear will give you two, furry thumbs up for teaching the next generation the basics of campfire safety!
Know What NOT to Use
Just because you see trees and branches everywhere, doesn't mean you can just take them to build your campfire. Smokey Bear frowns upon cutting branches and trees (whether alive or dead) as they often serve as homes for birds and other animals. Plus, live materials won't burn so it doesn't make sense to chop them off. Another DON'T is burning dangerous materials like pressurized containers, aerosol cans, aluminum cans, and glass. These things could shatter, explode, and create dust and poisonous fumes!
Extinguish Your Campfire Completely
Many campers don’t realize their fire may not be completely out when they head off to bed. Smokey Bear recommends dumping a bucket of water on the fire, stirring the dirt around with a shovel, and then pouring MORE water on the pit. A good rule of thumb for this campfire safety tip is if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
Pack it in, then pack it out. Whatever you bring into the camp, you should also take it with you when you leave — and that includes your trash. Cleaning up is an often overlooked campfire safety tip that not only exposes the area and the next users to potential harm, but is also very disrespectful to nature.
Remember… Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires
Smokey Bear said it best. We’re passionate about camping, which also means we understand the importance of doing our part to maintain the natural beauty we enjoy. Check out the Smokey Bear website to learn more about how you can appreciate your campfire while still taking steps to limit its impact.
Ready to go camping? You can enjoy the outdoors while still bringing modern comforts along by going in a Cruise America rental RV. Contact us today to book your vehicle!