9 Tips for campfire safety

Posted at 1:39 AM, May 27, 2005

To ensure a safe and fun outdoor experience for you and neighbors, the U.S. Forest Service has these campfire tips:


  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fire. Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle.


  • Keep plenty of water hands and have a shovel for throwing dirt on the fire it it happens to get out of control.


  • Keep the campfire small. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks gives plenty of heat.


  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.


  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks -- there may be burning embers hiding underneath.


  • Stir the remains with dirt, add more water and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. Mix enough soil or sand with the embers and more water. Continue this process until all material is cooled.


  • All burned materials should be cool to the touch. Watch for burning roots. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out.


  • If you use charcoal briquets, soak the coals with lots of water, stir and soak again.


  • Be sure your fire is "dead out." Don't let your carelessness add to the cause of a devastating wildfire.