Fires and Recreation




Fires and Recreation

In recent years many communities and families have been traumatized by the impact of wildfires. Awareness around the nature and risks of wildfires is paramount as we often see fires where we didn't expect them. Although many wildfires are a result of lighting strikes or other natural causes, outdoor recreation in its many forms continues to pose a threat. Many swaths of western North America are covered in fire bans throughout most of the summer, and it is incredibly important for all involved that you respect the fire bans in the region you are exploring.

Minimizing the risk of forest fires while camping is important for the safety of visitors, residents, firefighters and the environment. We've put together some tips to reduce the risk of forest fires and to keep you fire safe while camping:

  1. Check fire restrictions: Before you go camping, check to see if there are any fire restrictions in place in the area you plan to visit. Some parks or forests may have restrictions on campfires or the use of stoves during times of high fire risk.
  2. Use a camp stove: If allowed, using a camp stove for cooking instead of building a fire is the safest way to minimize the risk of forest fires. Camp stoves are efficient and safe, and they won't create the same sparks that could ignite a fire. That said be aware that they are stable, and keep an eye on the wind. Do not use a stove in your tent if you are in a fire prone environment.
  3. Choose a safe campsite: Choose a campsite that is at least 200 feet away from any flammable vegetation, such as dry grass or pine needles. Make sure the ground is clear of flammable debris, and avoid camping near dead or fallen trees. Make sure you know the wind forecast or are extremely aware of changes in the wind. If wind comes up suddenly, it is important to douse the fire immediately, this is a primary cause of forest fires.
  4. Build a fire in a designated area: If fires are allowed, make sure to build them in designated fire rings or fire pits. Keep fires small and burn only small sticks and twigs that can be broken by hand. Have a fire that is small enough to be put out fast. Big fires used to be cool, but not anymore.
  5. Douse the fire: Make sure to douse the fire completely with water before leaving your campsite or going to bed. Stir the ashes to make sure that no hot coals remain.
  6. Store flammable items properly: Store flammable items, such as gasoline, propane, and firewood, away from the fire and away from the tent.
  7. Be cautious with cigarettes: Dispose of cigarette butts properly and be careful not to flick them into vegetation. You would be shocked at how many fires are attributed to this completely avoidable cause.

By following these tips and being mindful of the risk of forest fires, campers can help to minimize the risk of forest fires and ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience.

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