Campfire safety: be smart outdoors

Teen girls around a campfire

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOTV) Having a campfire can be one of the greatest joys of summer. Whether roasting marshmallows, cooking a meal, or surrounded by family and friends, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around a campfire.

  • Select an appropriate location. Before creating a campfire, make sure you understand any rules or regulations for your area. Avoid building the fire near low-hanging branches, tree roots, structures, and other flammable items. Try to choose a location where your fire will be sheltered from the wind and use campfire rings or other designated campfire accessories whenever possible.
  • Use the appropriate campfire fuel. Soft woods like pine, fir, and cedar are best for starting a fire. Start the fire by building a small teepee of dry sticks and igniting it with a match. As the fire gets started, add larger pieces of wood. Remember to keep the fire small. Don’t burn items that may explode or give off toxic fumes. Items should never be thrown in a fire. That includes batteries, plastic bags, glass, and aluminum cans.
  • Supervise the campfire area continuously. A responsible adult should always be present while a campfire is burning. Encourage small children to stay seated several feet away from the fire. Extinguished campfire areas should still be monitored after the flames have gone out to make sure the campfire does not re-ignite and to make sure that children are not burned by embers, which still retain heat even after the fire is extinguished.
  • Completely extinguish the campfire. A roaring fire is both a success, and a responsibility. It is your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire when you are finished. Make sure you always have a large bucket of water and metal shovel on hand to put out the fire. Pour lots of water on the fire, drown all embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel and pour more water on the ashes, then feel the area to make sure they are cold to the touch.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that summer activities are more fun when you know that your kids are safe Where You Live!

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