There are approximately 100,000 wildfires every year in the United States. While lighting strikes are a common cause of these wildfires, another cause is uncontrolled campfires. Campers who fail to take the necessary precautions to control their fire may inadvertently spark one of these hard-to-extinguish wildfires. So, how can you better control your campfire and prevent it from spreading?
When choosing a location for your campfire, look to see where nearby trees and brush are located. Ideally, your campfire should be at least 10 feet away from flammable brush and plant life. A stray ember can easily travel to a nearby tree, sparking a major wildfire.
Setting up a fire ring around your campfire is a quick and easy way to keep it under control. In the most basic sense, a fire ring is nothing more than a circle of medium-sized rocks placed around the perimeter of the campfire. It’s sole purpose is to control the fire and prevent it from escaping. Depending on where you are camping, there may be existing fire rings left by other campers, which you can typically use to build your won campfire.
Even if you use a fire ring, you should still dig a small hole in the center to better control your campfire. It doesn’t have to be deep, as just a few inches is usually enough to keep the fire under control.
Both the speed and direction at which the wind is blowing can affect your ability to control your campfire. If you build your campfire downwind, and there’s brush a short distance further downwind, it could spread out of control. This is why most outdoor experts recommend building campfires against a natural windbreak, such as a ridge or large rock.
It’s a good idea to keep some water near your campfire. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen, but if your campfire spreads out of control, you can extinguish it by dousing the flames in water. And even if your campfire doesn’t spread, it’s a good idea to douse the flames and ash in water before leaving. Doing so gives you peace of mind knowing that it’s fully extinguished.
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