Abide by these steps when selecting your camp fire site to prevent wildfire and promote responsible wellbeing:

DO NOT generate a camp fire in a hazardous place. You should never build a campfire in a restricted area of the campground. Most campgrounds have designated locations for a fire and the other areas marked or not prohibit campfires.

Find out before you go if the campground has existing campfire areas in each camping space. Preplanning when you want to have an open fire is best because you won’t have any surprises and will get a space that not only allows for this type of fire but is set up for safety. That simply means there won’t be trees or shrubs close to the fire and that stones or fire bricks are already laid to keep the fire in its place.

If you are camping with children, make sure they abide by safety rules around the camp fire. While roasting marshmallows are part of the camping experience, placing hot tipped sticks in the brush or getting to close to the fire can turn a great day into a bad experience. Supervising all children around open fires is a must for their safety and the health of our campgrounds and forests.

If you are creating a campfire make sure you dig a fire pit at least 6 to 8 inches in the ground and clear and grass, brush or debris away from it on all sides. Pay strict attention to the direction of the wind and set up a wind barrier to keep the wind from blowing embers into timber around your camp site. If you are in a draught area, think twice before creating a campfire; you could be starting something that will be extremely hard to put out.  At the very least, take away any grass, kindling or leaves that might fuel a larger fire and place it well out of range. Be diligent about tending to the fire and make sure it is completely put out before you retire for the night.

Making sure any open fire is properly created, maintained and extinguished is everyone’s job when camping on any State or Federal land. Let’s make sure we all keep safe when enjoying a wonderful, open, roaring fire.