Campfire And Bonfire Safety

Campfire And Bonfire Safety

Wednesday, 03 July 2024 11:37

Spring and summer are peak times for camping and outdoor activities, which may lead to an increase in the number of campfires and bonfires. While these activities bring joy and warmth to outdoor gatherings, they also pose potential hazards if not managed responsibly. 

In the United States, nearly nine out of ten wildfires are started by people. Wildfires are often accidental, but their impact can change people’s lives and have lasting impacts on communities and the environment. 

For firefighters, you want your community to understand the best practices for safely enjoying and managing campfires and bonfires. This article provides essential tips to help communicate the safe enjoyment of these activities while minimizing the risk of fire-related incidents.

Educating The Community About Fire Safety

As firefighters, we’re well aware of the dangers that fires can pose, even when they start as small, controlled blazes. Your role is not only to respond to emergencies but also to educate the community on fire safety. You can use the following guidelines to help inform the public about the importance of treating fire with respect and preventing devastating wildfires.

Outdoor Bonfire And Campfire Safety

Although fire has always been one of man’s best friends, it can also be man’s worst enemy. A large bonfire at a cookout or party and a small campfire at a remote tent location can create devastating wildfires; therefore, you must treat fire respectfully.

The terms campfire and bonfire are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between the two:

  • Size: A bonfire is typically larger and more robust than a campfire. Bonfires are often built for larger gatherings or events, while campfires are usually smaller and more intimate, used for cooking or providing warmth at a campsite.
  • Purpose: Campfires are usually built for practical purposes such as cooking, providing warmth, or boiling water. On the other hand, bonfires are often built for recreational or ceremonial purposes, such as celebrating an event, creating a focal point for a gathering, or as part of a traditional ritual.
  • Location: Campfires are commonly found at campsites, where they are used by campers for cooking and warmth. Bonfires are more likely to be found in open spaces such as beaches, parks, or fields, where they can be safely enjoyed by a larger group of people.
  • Regulations: Because of their larger size and potential for a more significant impact, bonfires may be subject to more rules and restrictions than campfires. In many areas, local authorities may require permits or approval for bonfires, while campfires may be allowed with certain conditions.

Campfire And Bonfire Safety Tips For Your Community

By effectively communicating these safety tips, your community can become much safer when enjoying campfires and bonfires. Ensuring that everyone is aware of the proper rules and regulations, as well as understanding the essential safety tips, will significantly reduce the risk of fire-related incidents. 

Educating the community about fire safety will lead to responsible and enjoyable outdoor gatherings while minimizing the potential hazards associated with campfires and bonfires.

1) Know The Rules

Before starting a fire, community members should check local fire regulations, as rules can change based on wildfire risk. Reinforce the importance of staying updated on these regulations.

2) Use A Fire Pit

If a fire pit is provided, it should be the only place to build a campfire. In remote areas, instruct people to dig a pit in an open area away from hazards and to circle the pit with rocks for safety.

3) Build A Safe Campfire

Teach the community how to build a safe campfire by starting with dried leaves or grass, adding kindling and small twigs, and finally, larger pieces of wood. Emphasize the importance of using local firewood to prevent the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases.

4) Keep Water Handy

Stress the importance of having a bucket of water and a shovel nearby to control runaway flames and to douse the fire if necessary.

5) Pay Attention To The Wind

Inform people about the dangers of a strong breeze spreading the fire and advise them to keep flammable materials, including unused firewood, upwind and at least twenty feet away from the fire.

6) Be Careful With Kids And Pets

Highlight the risks of campfires to children and pets. Encourage adults to teach kids about fire dangers and to keep children and pets away from the fire unless supervised closely.

7) Never Leave A Campfire Unattended

Reiterate that a campfire should never be left unattended. A slight breeze can quickly spread a fire, so someone should always monitor it. If leaving even for a short time, the fire must be extinguished completely.

8) Put The Fire Out Properly

Instruct the community on how to properly extinguish a campfire by dumping water on the fire, stirring the ashes, and dumping more water until the fire is cold to the touch.

9) Other Considerations For Campfire and Bonfire Safety

Wear appropriate non-flammable clothing when starting, sitting by, or extinguishing the fire. Hard-soled shoes are a better choice than rubber sneakers or flip-flops, as leaping sparks could cause their material to ignite.

Keep an eye on alcohol consumption. If you and your guests enjoy an adult beverage around the bonfire, be mindful of your consumption. Too much alcohol can lead to clumsiness and careless behavior, such as getting too close to the fire or tossing in the wrong items.

What Else Can Fire Departments Do To Help Promote Campfire And Bonfire Safety?

Fire departments can further promote campfire and bonfire safety by organizing community workshops, or events focused on fire safety and responsible fire management. These workshops can cover topics such as proper campfire and bonfire setup, fire extinguishing techniques, and the potential hazards associated with wildfires. 

Additionally, it is a good idea to collaborate with local authorities to develop and distribute educational materials, such as brochures or flyers, highlighting the essential safety tips for enjoying campfires and bonfires. 

By actively engaging with the community and providing valuable resources, firehouses can play a significant role in spreading awareness and ensuring that these outdoor activities are enjoyed safely and responsibly.

StreetWise® Provides Software To Prepare For Firefighter Safety

StreetWise® is a public safety information services company based in North Carolina. Our elite group of progressive, like-minded investors, managers, technical developers, and advisors forms the Hangar 14 Solutions, LLC parent company. Utilizing our software can help you respond to bonfires and campfires more efficiently with heightened situational awareness. 

With an all-in-one system like StreetWise, you can be confident that your department’s response will improve. For first responders, every single second matters. You need every advantage to save time. Our software improves life-saving situational awareness that can save the lives of your firefighters and those you are helping. 

StreetWise can assist you with developing pre-incident plans and provide advanced software to prepare for any type of fire season. If you would like more information or to schedule a free demonstration,  contact us