We may be entering the end of the camping season, but many people, especially hunters, are still getting out and enjoying the Colorado fall. Camping and our extremely dry summer make campfires a real danger. In the past few weeks, several unattended campfires have caused wild land fires in our state. Here are some tips to make sure that you, and your campsite, stay safe while camping this fall.
- Pick your spot – Make sure that the campground or county you are camping in allows campfires and that no fire restrictions are in place. Use existing fire pits or rings, if available. If no rings or pits are available, make sure your fire is at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs, trees, low-hanging branches or other flammable objects.
- Build your fire - Choose a spot that is downwind from your camping spot and clear a 10-foot diameter area around the fire. Dig a pit approximately one foot deep ad surround it with rocks. Fill the pit with dry wood and keep extra wood upwind from the fire. Keep the fire small and under control and keep a water bucket and shovel nearby. Never leave your fire unattended!
- Extinguish your fire – Allow the wood to burn completely, if possible. Drown all embers with water; pour until the hissing sound stops. Stir the embers to make sure that everything is wet and cool. If no water is available mix sand and dirt with the embers until they are cool. Do not bury the fire as it may smolder underground and catch roots or other brush on fire. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
Following these simple tips will help to ensure that your camping trip is a safe and enjoyable experience. For more information on campfire safety, go to http://www.smokeybear.com/campfire-safety.asp.