How Do I Safely Build And Use A Campfire During The Summer In Washington State?

It's that time of year when everyone will be hitting the road for vacation and many of us will be camping.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.

Here Are Six Tips That'll Help You Have A Safe Camping Season In Washington

My wife loves camping and she's one of those folks that has no problem roughing it in the wild. She's never been much of a "glamper" so the more remote the location, the better.

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Thanks to our friends from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, they've provided Washington and Oregon campers with six valuable tips on how to prevent a wildfire.

OPRD offers these six tips for a safe and enjoyable campfire:

  1. Maintain campfire flames at knee height (no more than 2 feet high). A smaller flame helps prevent embers from rising into the trees or dry vegetation. If you see the wind stirring up embers, play it safe and put the fire out.
  2. In a state park campground, only build campfires in the existing fire ring in your campsite. Fire rings are placed in areas with buffer zones and away from vegetation.
  3. Always keep plenty of water on hand to safely put out the campfire. Douse the flames with water and stir the embers to make sure everything is wet. The stirring step is important: ash and wood debris often maintain heat. Repeat these steps until the fire no longer emits heat.
  4. Beach campfires should be on open sand and away from driftwood or vegetation and use only natural wood, rather than pallets or anything else that might have hidden nails or screws. Slowly pour water on your beach fire to put it out. Pouring water too quickly can cause hot sand to fly up. Don’t use sand to put out a beach fire. Covering the fire with sand will insulate the coals, keeping them hot enough to burn someone hours or days later.
  5. For propane fire rings, follow the same safety precautions you would with a log-based campfire. The use of propane fire rings may be restricted depending on local conditions.
  6. Make sure everyone in your campsite is familiar with campfire safety, including children. Always keep an eye on your campfire; many accidental fires are started because campers left their fire unattended for “just a minute.”

These are just a few tips to keep you safe during the camping season. You can read more details about camping and reserving your spot in Washington and Oregon here.

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