Ten Things to Remember Around the Campfire

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Warm weather is here, folks!   Camping and warm fires at night are at the top of the list for the warm weather seasons.  Millions go camping and nearly all of them have a fire at night.  They are great for cooking, keeping warm, and just sitting around and shooting the breeze.  They can also be destructive.  They can be downright deadly.  Here are ten things to remember when you build your innocent little fire so that it stays that way.

First things first.  Make sure to have a look around.  Finding a safe site for your fire is the first thing you should think of.  Clean the area of loose debris such as leaves, limbs and high grass.  Nearby fuel such as these are often the reason why a fire gets out of control.

The next thing you should do is make a fire containment ring.  If there is no fire ring available, you can pile rocks in a circular pattern.  This will be sufficient as a fire-break if the site was previously secured.

Now you’re ready to set your pile of branches and such alight, right?  Wrong.  Always make sure you have proper equipment to put out the fire with.  If your fire does happen to get away from you, a shovel or at least a bucket of water is handy to have nearby rather than to be unprepared for the worst.

When lighting the fire, one should have on cotton clothing.  Many end up in the hospital with burns from starting their innocent little fire with synthetic clothing on.  Cotton is rather resistant to combustion while synthetics such as polyester fleece (popular outdoors material) will ignite and melt quickly.  Burns to the arms areinevitable when wearing a long-sleeved “plastic” shirt or jacket.

All involved with the family fun should be aware of each other person’s location near the fire.  Many times, a stumble into another can cause a fall and that can lead to disaster.  Children are especially good at being under one’s feet when they turn around, so they should be directed to stay back from the fire unless supervised closely.

Now you can break out your “weeny stick” and get cooking!  Just remember, when you and others handle those time-honored traditional cooking utensils, don’t swing them around without looking.  This is usually the children that need this guidance.  A sharpened stick that is generally burnt at the end can end up a tragic accident waiting to happen.  The old cliché, “You’ll put your eye out with that may not be enough instruction for a youngster.  Show them the proper way to handle and retire that wooden spear!

The seventh thing to think about is:  When you and yours are sitting around that lovely fire drinking your libations, don’t drink so much that you are out of control.  Many times there has been the drunken one that tries to show off and jump the fire.  Ignorance is bliss, but fire in the eye is not pie in the sky!  Stay in control of yourself and the situation.

Now that the fire has died down a bit and the night’s chill has set in you’re gonna want to stoke the fire.  Don’t just toss those pieces of wood into that pile of fire.  Be careful and considerate.  Throwing those chunks of lumber into the fire can spray burning embers all over.  The people nearby shouldn’t have to put themselves out to stay warm.

It’s getting to be time to go to sleep and the fire’s still burning.  Maybe there’s only a glowing bed of embers in the middle.  Is it alright to leave them burn out on their own?  No.  Definitely not.  If your sleeping and a gust of wind comes along, those embers can fly all around and set fires everywhere.  Don’t be lazy.  Shovel some dirt from nearby and cover up that tiny little pile of embers.  After you have covered them caringly with a sufficient amount of dirt, pour your bucket of water gently over the heap.  This will ensure the fire is contained.  Why not just pour the water on the fire?  Because that’s just not as safe and wewant to be safe, don’t we?

Finally, you can go to bed knowing that you and yours are safe.  Just be careful not to trip and fall on your way!  A flashlight is handy to have around for your eyes will not have adjusted to the darkness properly for a while after staring at that lovely fire.  After all, that you wouldn’t want to fall down and hurt yourself on the way to bed.  Now have a good night and sweet dreams.

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