Late summer and early autumn are perfect times for sitting in the backyard, listening to the sounds of nature, watching the sunset and enjoying a campfire.
As the coolness of the evening creeps in, a campfire is a great way to keep warm and socialize. That’s especially true in today’s world of social distancing—outdoors are the safest places to socialize, and bonfires are great ways to do so. Maybe you’re even using that campfire as a cooking stove from time to time, to roast marshmallows or cook hamburgers.
These all sound like great ideas, but any idea involving a bonfire or campfire is going to have its risks attached. It’s an open flame that you must control carefully, or else you will run the risk of causing a fire that might easily get out of control and do a lot of damage.
In order to keep your family and property safe when building campfires, keep a few of these tips in mind:
- Check with your local law enforcement or homeowners association to see if there are any rules governing campfires. You don’t want to have your relaxing evening interrupted by a visit from the police.
- Build your fire in an enclosed area, such as a fire bowl or pit, where it will be contained.
- Find a place out in the open for the fire, away from trees and structures. Ensure that no trees or branches are overhanging the fire, too. Flying sparks could easily set this foliage on fire.
- Go over safety rules with children and other attendees. Remind them to stay back and to never run around the fire.
- Never burn garbage in the campfire, which can result in unhealthy, black smoke.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Have a fire extinguisher, sandpile or hose handy if a fire gets out of control.
- Don’t start a fire during dry spells or when there are high winds. Dry foliage or high winds can easily fan flames into out-of-control blazes.
- Always extinguish the fire until all embers are out and it is not emanating any heat. A fire that is still smoldering still has the potential to both spark and set fires.