Spring 2014 Camp Fire Safety Awareness
As we start to ease ourselves off of a hard winter, many are anxious to get outside and enjoy our camping weekends. While every unit should be vigilant about practicing fire safety on EVERY camping trip, it is especially important this time of year until late May or early June when the forest and brush are green.
As much moisture as it seems we’ve experienced, it only takes a few hours of a slight breeze, low humidity and bright sun for the woods to become tinder boxes. Please keep in mind some common scouting fire safety tips and some additional ones as we approach what the Wildland Firefighters call, the “fire season”;
- Always make sure your campfire circle is cleared of leaves, pine needles and other combustibles by at least 10 feet from the fire.
- Do not build a campfire larger than what is needed for your group and never build one larger than 4’X4’.
- Avoid burning pines or other light fuels that cause excessive embers to be produced.
- NEVER use any kind of flammable or combustible liquids to light your standard campfire. Lighter fluid may be used for charcoal in charcoal grills. The use of other flammables like gasoline make cause an explosion to occur when ignition is attempted forcing the material in the campfire to fly out and potentially injure people. Use of flammable liquids in lighting campfires is strictly prohibited by BSA policy.
- Keep at least two (2) five (5) gallon pails of water dedicated for fire protection near your campfire or an “Indian Tank”. Make sure they are full and are not used for horseplay. It is highly recommended that units have one (1) gallon buckets of water at each tent when tent camping.
- If the winds are high, you may not be able to have a campfire, it might simply be too dangerous and risky.
- NEVER leave the campfire unattended.
- When leaving the campsite, make sure the campfire is out COLD. That means plenty of water, stirred in the coals, and no more residual heat coming off of it.
- Monitor the Forest Fire Service information on fire danger in the woods prior to camping for the weekend. During high danger periods, ground fires may be completely prohibited and sometimes even propane stove use is restricted.
- When the potential for severe fire weather exists, make sure your unit has a plan to escape from a Wildfire should one occur.
Have fun during your camping excursions, but make sure you STAY SAFE first.
John Hoffman, Executive Vice President, GSC & Fire Chief, Washington Township FD