The summer months are approaching and with them come the fun adventure of road trips with family and friends, backyard campfires and all the wonderful things that come with the warmer season.
If roasting marshmallows over an open fire or a bonfire on the beach is on your summer to-do list, there are a few precautions you can take to have a good time while keeping the fire contained – for your own safety and for the safety of the environment too!
According to the National Park Service, nearly 85 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, in many cases resulting from campfires or bonfires left unattended with loose embers and burning debris. Depending on where you set your fire, this could be catastrophic – it’s important to be careful.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Wear Appropriate Clothing: wear non-flammable clothing when igniting, sitting near or putting out the fire. Hard-soled shoes are recommended as opposed to rubber shoes (sneakers/flip flops), which could ignite with a spark.
- Watch the Alcohol Consumption: Bonfires with friends and drinks are a great time, but it’s important to keep your wits about you when fire is involved. Assign a non-drinker if possible, or be mindful of your own drinking.
- Safely Put Out the Fire: As the evening wraps up and the once high reaching flames have become no more than burning embers, use a shovel to spread the ashes to and allow them to cool. Pour water slowly over the ashes and keep an eye out for any embers left burning. Do not leave the site until you are positive the fire is completely out.
Bonfire & Campfire Safety Guidelines
- Check the Weather: Windy days are no good for bonfires as they could sweep a spark into brush and quickly ignite.
- Check the Laws: Each state has its own set of laws and regulations, verify that the location you choose is legal.
- Bucket of Water: Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready in case of an emergency.
- Keep Your Eyes Open: Watch the children and adults alike!
- Don’t Toss Trash Into the Flames: This especially includes items such as aerosols, canisters or anything containing pains/foams as these are highly flammable and could not only spread toxic fumes into the atmosphere, but could also explode – causing injury.
- Dry & Seasoned Wood Only: Ensure the wood and tinder you use is completely free of moisture. Undried wood will cause a lot of smoke, that’s no fun! No ties, coating, treatment or furniture either.
- Keep it Contained: It’s recommended to keep your fire no bigger than 5’x5’ in order to ensure that you can contain the fire in the event of spreading.
- Pick Your Location Carefully: Keep away from trees, buildings, or any kind of brush nearby to avoid a wandering spark.
- Do it Right: When you’re done with your fire, turn over the leftovers and cool the area down with water. Keep an eye on it until you’re sure it’s out.
Summer’s are all about fun, especially here in Chicago, but it’s important to keep fire safety in mind at home and outdoors!
Questions or concerns? Contact us today!