Mar 22, 2010

Campfire Safety

On a chilly night, there’s nothing cozier than a crackling campfire. While sitting around the flickering flames you can share the day’s adventure, sing songs, and tell funny/scary stories.

Despite their charm and comfort, campfires can also be hazardous. Be sure that flammable materials are cleared from the fire ring. During summer/dry season, the time of the year when fire danger is high, one stray campfire spark can ignite an entire forest. People who won’t pay attention to regulations that prohibit fires threaten not only the land, but themselves as well.

The wildfire hazard, however, is not only reason for prohibiting campfires. Dead trees and branches provide homes for wildlife including insects, birds, and mammals. In some camping areas, people have collected every piece of dead wood they could find, depriving these creatures of needed shelter. Often campfires are no longer allowed in such places.

In some popular camping spots, individual campfires have been banned to control air pollution from campfire smoke. If you plan to enjoy campfires on your next trip, be sure to choose a campground where they are permitted.

Here are few other campfire tips:
1. If there is a designated fire pit, use it.
2. Build your campfire small, and sit closer for warmth.
3. Be cautious. Never run or play near campfire.
4. Only use dead and down wood. That means never pull branches off trees or cut vegetation.
5. Its okay to burn paper trash, but noxious fumes result from burning plastic. Discard plastic and metal in trash cans.
6. Damp wood creates more smoke, so burn dry fuel.
7. When you leave your campfire, douse it with water and make sure it’s out. All the way out.

(Note: In mountaineering making bonfires are prohibited, except for survival and emergency purposes. Camping area should be free from any form of fires.)

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