How to Put Out Your Camp Fire When You’re Done
It is extremely important to properly put out your camp fire. According to the US Forest Service website http://www.fs.fed.us/ each year an average of more than 73,000 wildfires burn about 7.3 million acres of private, state and federal land and more than 2,600 structures. Most of these fires are started by camp fires. Putting out your camp fire is probably the last thing you want to think about while enjoying the outdoors, but it is the most important thing you will do on your next trip. Doing it correctly will save lives, trees, and buildings.
It is also important that you know how to keep a safe fire while it burns.
Instructions For How To Put Out Your Camp Fire
- Wait for the fire to burn down. Try to make sure all wood chunks have burned down into ash.
- Spread out the remaining charcoals, wood, and burning pieces evenly. Best to use a stick or shovel.
- Pour water onto the remaining burning pieces and ash. Keep your hand at a good distance since any remaining hot pieces are sure to produce steam.
- Mix the hot pieces again with your stick or shovel. Pour water on any pieces that are still smoking or burning.
- Look between and under any of the rocks surrounding the fire pit. Often, still burning embers will find their way between or under the rocks.
- Allow the fire about 1-2 minutes to fizzle as you gather up some dirt or sand. Make sure no large burning pieces remain.
- Use your hands or preferably the shovel to pour about 1 inch or more of dirt and or sand over the fire. This will help to suffocate the remaining ash, and keep it from blowing around in the wind.
- Check the entire fire pit before leaving to make sure that no embers remain, and nothing is smoking. The fire pit should be cool to the touch.
Using Earth Works Great But Earth and Water Works Best
When you think about How To Put Out Your Fire the same question often arises. What if I don’t have water? This is a great question because when you are backpacking and every pound counts, carrying a bucket of water to put out your fire every night is simply impractical.
DIRT WORKS GREAT!
Earth will douse a flame. Sand will work even better. I have used Earth to put out my fire many times. Here are some important tips to remember when using this technique to douse your flames. You will see why using Water and then Earth works best.
- When you dig up earth and even sand it often contains organic matter. Pieces of root, branches, pine needles, and plants. These can catch a flame even after your fire is put out if the embers are hot enough.
- A fire not properly cooled before being covered in earth may continue to burn. It will actually be protected from the elements by the earth and may burn longer.
YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE IT IS COOL AND ALL EMBERS AND COALS ARE NO LONGER BURNING
It is easy to understand how this technique works. Fire needs oxygen to burn. Cover a fire with enough earth and it can’t get oxygen, and will be extinguished. However, you need to make sure the fire is cool.
Let the Fire Burn Out On It’s Own
Probably the most overlooked step to putting out your fire correctly is to let it burn out on it’s own.
- Put the fire out before you sleep. Especially important when it is windy.
- Let the fire start burning out well before you plan to leave.
Don’t start letting the fire go out right when you start to pack up camp. If at all possible quit feeding the fire wood, and let it begin to burn out a couple hours before you plan to leave camp.