As the fall nights become cooler, a campfire becomes the go-to for keeping warm and bringing families and friends together. While they provide warmth and the best s’mores, they can also lead to wildfires if not put out properly. Due to their danger, if not tended to properly, some parks and camping zones in California do not allow campfires, but should you camp where campfires are allowed, it is important to learn how to put out your fire without it being a fire hazard.
Extinguishing a campfire with water:
- Begin by dousing your fire in plenty of water. The goal is to put out the fire and begin cooling the coals.
- Mix up the ashes to release heat from the middle and continue to add water to cool the entire area down.
- Hover your hand over the ashes to feel for any radiating heat. If you continue to feel heat repeat the process of pouring more water and stirring the ashes until they are cool to the touch.
Extinguishing a campfire with dirt:
If you do not have water to spare to put out the campfire, using dirt is another way you can safely extinguish the fire. This may be done with proper care. If you do not mix the ashes the dirt can insulate the fire and keep the coals hot.
- Once the fire has died down and there are no longer flames, begin by mixing the ashes together and spreading them out to release any trapped heat.
- Shovel sand or dirt on the spread-out ashes. Continue stirring and mixing the ashes with the sand or dirt.
- Hover your hand over the ashes to feel for heat. If it is not cool to the touch, continue adding dirt and mixing the ashes together.
- Once the ashes are completely cool, spread them out thinly to be sure no heat is trapped underneath.
California is no stranger to wildfires and while we must always be cautious, fire season is a time when our actions are crucial to the safety of our campsites, wildlife preserves, and homes. Practicing fire safety is one way we can do our part to prevent wildfires.