Tips to prevent forrest fires when camping
Camping is a great outdoor activity and there's nothing more pleasant than a talk around a fire and having some snacks or beverages!
But the fire may turn from a dream into a nightmare in a matter of seconds and that's why it's so important to keep in mind some tips to avoid accidents or, even worse, unintentionally start a wildfire.
Around 80% of forest fires are initiated by human activity, most of the time because of improper fire management, so next time you are out for hunting or camping, expending the night out around a fire, keep in mind the following to keep you, your camping fellow and the natural environment safe.
1. Keep in mind local regulations
Depending on the area, it's possible to find local regulations about camping fires, being voided during certain seasons or periods of the year. Being aware of local regulations will help to start a fire safely, especially because when they are voided, it's because of a high risk of wildfires even with minor neglect.
Then, if the fire is prohibited, just follow the rules and don't start one, otherwise, you are risking receiving a fine or, in the worst scenario, start a wildfire and get trapped by it.
2. Follow camping area rules
Additionally to local regulations, camping areas may add some extra protection layers to keep campers and the environment safe.
The first thing to do when arriving into a camping area is to be aware of rules, especially those related to campfires, and follow them thoroughly.
In case you detect someone who misses such rules, remember them politely how to proceed and offer some help if required. Another good choice is to inform the camping manager about the situation.
Remember, neglect of a third party regarding campfire management might jeopardize your safety, so it's important to keep your eyes wide open and try to help others to proceed according to the rules.
3. Always start a fire inside a fire ring
Fire rings are a good idea to keep the fire under control and most camping areas have fire rings however, if there's not one or if you are camping in the wilderness, build a fire ring using stones before starting a fire.
4. Clean the area from potential ignition material before starting a campfire
That's particularly important if you are camping in the forest, away from other people, and in an area free of maintenance.
Get sure to remove branches, dry leaves, and all potential combustible material from a perimeter around 3 meters around the fire ring, this way you prevent that a spark starts a fire if reaches combustible material in the soil.
5. Never leave your campfire unattended
Perhaps it's obvious, but every year many accidents occur because of neglect of those who started the campfire, so it's important to keep an eye over the fire all the time and act accordingly if something needs to be corrected, otherwise there's a real risk of starting a wildfire or get injured.
6. Follow proper procedures to extinguish your campfire
No flames do not mean that the campfire is completely extinguished, in fact, embers may last hot for hours, starting a new fire just because of wind blow, so follow proper procedures using sand and other non-flammable materials to extinguish your fire camp.
Additionally add water, everything must be wet and embers completely extinguished to consider it's safe to remove ash and debris from the fire ring.
7. Never leave the area until the fire ring is cold.
That's the best way to get sure you are not leaving an active fire behind, if everything is cold, there's no risk of re-ignition and it's safe to leave the area.
Keep in mind that this might take hours, so begin fire extinguishing procedures with enough time to guarantee everything will be cold for the time you leave the area.
Remember that wildfires destroy invaluable resources every year and you may help to prevent them! Every step counts!