Camping is a multi-Billion dollar industry in North America alone, and almost every campsite’s occupants in each and every campground, as well as those in wilderness sites, has a campfire roaring each night.
Many of these campfires roar until the wee hours of the morning because you just don’t get to do this in the city. So, what to do if the campfire jumps the fire pit or the fire ring?
Heavy winds will carry sparks and light pieces of lit wood, or charcoal, a fair distance away. When the winds start to pick up, you should limit the size of your campfire to below the top of the ring around the fire pit.
And, when the winds start to get strong, you should douse your fire and retreat to your tents, trailer or RV, or sit by the water and watch the water crash into the shore.
If the campfire jump occurred because someone used copious amounts of liquid fire starter, then it could be a serious problem.
With someone using too much firestarter on the fire pit and accidentally or otherwise caused a stream of a firestarter to lead to something flammable, like the firewood, a gasoline jerry can, or the boat’s gas can, dousing the errant fire as soon as possible is paramount.
That may be a lot of wood-burning in all of those campfires, but it is wood that was earmarked for this exact purpose, with landowners making a good living from cutting older trees down for firewood, and growing new trees in their place.
Or it could be dried wood on the forest’s floor, and the removal of it could even be good for the area, with less wood to catch fire from lightning strikes.
But, with so many campfires burning all over the continent, there are bound to be some sparks or lit pieces of wood carried by the wind, jumping the fire pit or fire ring.
Now, pretty much everyone knows to keep their tents, vehicles, and any flammable materials, like their boat’s gas tank, far from the campfire pit, but of course, there are exceptions to all rules.
You only get so much land to camp on, especially when camping at a pay-as-you-play campground (pretty much all campsites but backwoods sites), so you camp the way the site is designed.
The fire pit will be beside the water source, and the tent set up site at the furthest point from the fire pit. The sparks have to travel pretty far to do any damages.
When you have a campfire, you should always have a couple of buckets of water beside the fire, as well as a few pots or large pitchers filled with water and placed on the picnic table.
Should any sparks be caught in the wind and carry onto your tent or any other flammable objects, you can readily grab a big enough container of water to properly douse the initial piece of lit wood, as well as what it landed on.
When dousing where the lit spark or piece or wood landed, be liberal with the water, it can easily be replaced, but your gear, not so much.
The more water that you use, the more confident you can bet that there will be no near-future eruption of flames to your gear, nor a grass or root fire erupting after a while.
Root fires can happen fairly easily and can spread over the entire campground and beyond, possibly not even erupting in flames for hundreds of yards.
When camping and having a campfire, use common sense, always track down errant sparks and lit pieces of wood, and make sure that they are well doused with water.
Stomping on it will just not do, as some spark may live under the grass and start a root fire. Before retiring for the night, mix enough water inside the campfire pit so that you entirely douse the fire, any coals and hot spots.
Steam is okay, but if there is still hot smoke, more water is needed.
Camp safe. Camp informed.