You can’t have a campfire without these 5 necessary tips

ScoutsFire
Boy Scouts Troop 216 demonstrate campfire safety for this years Wildfire Awareness week at Dragoon Creek Campground near Spokane, WA. Photo by DNR/Janet Pearce

Recreational campfires are popular among outdoor enthusiasts and casual campers alike. However, everyone needs to remember that abandoned and unattended campfires are one of the leading causes of wildfires in Washington State.

Abandoned campfires have caused huge wildfires. Important tip: put out even the tiniest of sparks so that it’s cool to the touch. Even if only one little ember escapes, it can start a wildfire.

We’ve seen an increasing number of abandoned and illegal campfires in recent years. That’s a concern because with the already large number of summertime, lightning-caused fires that firefighters must fight each year, the state’s limited firefighting resources shouldn’t have to also respond to campfires that careless campers didn’t put out properly or allowed to escape.

You can take tips from the Boys Scouts of America in their campfire safety skit on YouTube.

Please take the time to completely put out your campfire; a little extra care takes only a few minutes – but could prevent a wildfire. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

Before leaving home, always check to find out what the campfire restrictions are for the area you plan to visit. 

If campfires are allowed, extinguish them properly when you leave: 

  1. Drown the fire thoroughly with water.
  2. Stir until cold.
  3. Drown the fire again and stir
  4. Never leave a campfire unattended at anytime.
  5. Never leave a campfire until it is completely out and cool to the touch.

What’s the best way to find out if you may have a campfire? Contact the landowner of the property, whether it’s state land, federal land, a campground, or private land.

Remember, if there is ever any doubt whether you may have a campfire or not, always contact your area’s DNR Region Office, fire district, or fire department to clarify specific regulations in that area.

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