Sitting around the fire with friends and family is one of the highlights of any camping trip, but if you aren’t careful, it can also put your loved ones and the area you’re spending time in at risk. When Smokey The Bear said “only you can prevent forest fires” he wasn’t lying.
Whether you’ve been camping for since you were little or have just picked the hobby up in recent years, it never hurts to refresh on best practices in terms of starting, maintaining and putting out a campfire.
Only build a fire in designated areas. When you arrive at your campsite, only build a fire where you are allowed to. Generally, there will be an existing fire ring or grill. While it might be tempting to build your fire elsewhere, the ring is specifically designed to prevent sparks and embers from jumping outside and starting a forest fire.
Heed all wind and weather warnings. Winds that are strong can ignite and fuel fires. Because of this, it’s crucial that you heed and follow all burning restrictions placed by the Wisconsin DNR. Visit their website prior to leaving home and select the county that you’ll be camping in. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you’ll be able to see whether or not fires are allowed.
Never leave your fire unattended. Once you’ve built your fire at your campsite, don’t leave it unattended. If you need to use the restroom or run to the car to grab something, make sure at least one person in your group has an eye on the fire ring. A fire left unattended can quickly get out of hand.
Putting your fire out. As the night starts winding down, make sure to put your fire out properly. Dump water on the flame, and use a stick or other tool to stir the water in a clockwise motion. Continue pouring water and stirring the ashes until there are no longer any glowing embers or signs of heat.