OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Prevent your campfire from turning wild

Jun 25, 2024, 12:48 PM | Updated: 12:53 pm

A man works to put out a rogue fire in American Fork Canyon....

A man works to put out a fire in American Fork Canyon. Always ensure your campfire is fully extinguished before leaving the area. (Luke Kevesdy)

(Luke Kevesdy)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sitting around the campfire is a popular summer evening event. However, if they aren’t maintained and extinguished properly, they can turn into wildfires. 

According to the United States Bureau of Land Management, you can take steps to prevent your campfire from going rogue from the beginning. 

Starting and maintaining a safe campfire

Before you start a campfire, the Utah Department of Natural Resources said to make yourself aware of current fire restrictions for the area. Ensure that you are starting the fire in an approved location.

Avoid starting fires on windy days, as sparks can be carried away from the site. 

Related: Zion National Park to introduce campfire and smoking restrictions

Secondly, campfires do not need to be large to provide light and heat. The BLM said that a few small logs are enough to begin. 

If your fire begins to wither, you can always add another small amount of fuel later on. “Keep it under control by only adding one or two small logs at a time,” reads the BLM website. 

Always keep a fire extinguisher or at least one bucket of water nearby. You never know when an emergency situation may arise. 

Never leave your campfire unattended. If you must leave the area, make sure it is completely extinguished before your departure. 

Extinguishing a campfire

Smokey Bear recommended letting all fuel reduce to ash before extinguishing a campfire. When it is time to put the fire out, make sure you drown it. “Pour until [the] hissing sound stops,” says the website. 

Then, stir the remains of the fire. Pour more water onto it to ensure no buried embers are still alive. Alternatively, Smokey Bear said you can stir dirt into the fire to bury it. 

If there are any remaining sticks or logs in the pile, scrape them with a shovel. Ensure you’ve removed all embers. 

When it is cool enough to touch the fire is considered completely extinguished. If it isn’t, continue to pour water and monitor it. 

Related: Summer camping tips to make your trip a success

 

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Prevent your campfire from turning wild