When it comes to camping, a campfire is an essential part of the experience. But it's important to make sure that your campfire is completely extinguished before you leave your campsite. To do this, you'll need to scrape off all partially burned sticks and logs to ensure that there are no hot embers left. Stir the coals after covering them with water and make sure everything is damp.
Using a shovel, spread the embers as much as possible around the campfire. Doing so can help them cool down faster due to increased airflow around the embers, and eliminates unburned fuel to prevent them from reigniting. When it's time to put out the fire, do it completely. Let the fire go out and turn to ashes. Then pour plenty of water over the embers and embers, completely drowning them.
The Forest Service recommends doing so until all the whistling stops. Often, that won't happen until the ash is soaked and thick. To start a fire properly, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure that you have a fire burning in a short time and that you clean it up quickly when you're ready to go. However, leaving the camp before completely extinguishing the fire can cause wildfires or burn another caravan. Never light a campfire where it's prohibited, but if you're allowed to light a warm fire, first assess your environment. Before heading out on your camping trip, make sure you know if the area where you'll be camping allows a fire.
If you're in a developed camp with a circle of fire, you may be able to leave ashes in the ring and leftover firewood nearby (check the camp rules first). However, more abandoned and poorly constructed campfires have been built this year, says Stanton Florea, a Forest Service spokesman who focuses on the fires. To put out a fire quickly, start by filling a bucket with water and pouring it over the fire until the hot coals stop whistling. Before leaving, always remember to check the areas surrounding the campsite for sparks or loose embers, which can easily cause occasional fires. Leaving the camp or going to bed before properly extinguishing the fire can quickly cause wildfires and endanger people, wildlife and ecosystems.
Spread the wood you don't use, bring the trash from the campfire and, if you're in a real wild area, collect the wet ash and spread it over a large area away from your camp. So what's the right way to build (and put out) a campfire so as not to cause a wildfire by accident? Build with caution, choose the right materials, and be sure to turn it off completely. Always include a fire blanket and burn cream in your camping essentials to help prevent and treat injuries caused by a campfire. The amount of material you use will depend on the size of the campfire, but for a normal campfire, you'll need at least two buckets. And while the Forest Service reports that 87 percent of wildfires are caused by people (outdoor equipment, power lines, exhaust sparks, discarded cigarette butts, and even arson are to blame), uncontrolled campfires don't account for most wildfires.