Fire Safety

Any links or tips on fire safety in the woods?

The ground around a fire can burn underneith the ground and catch roots on fire which can spread fire underground and up to the forest if we don’t keep an eye attuned to the ground around the fire.

Don’t catch fire.

Seriously, it’s pretty basic. First, you want to build your fire in an area cleared of brush and other igniteables (except the fire, obviously). Some sort of fire ring can be very helpful if you have the materials, either rocks or logs to large and green to catch from a brief fire. Even logs that burn only burn on one side often, so they can contain a fire. Unless you are in a no dig zone, you can make a fire trench. Remove the sod intact if you can, and save the dirt in a pile where it won’t get wet or blow away. Make sure there are no overhanging branches and the like.

Next, while the fire is going, do NOT leave it unattended. Have the means to extinguish it, either water or the dirt from the dugout firepit. Only make the fire as big as you need.

When it’s time to put the fire out, use a stick to spread the fire apart first. If you built the fire no bigger than you needed, there should be little left. The more left, the harder to extinguish. Then put some water and dirt on. Don’t dump your whole bucket on the fire. Aside from making a mess, it can cause ash to travel up with the steam or wash a coal out of your firering, actually spreading it. Or it could fail to extinguish the whole fire and now you are out of water. anyway, extinguish, then stir, then extinguish again. It’s out when you can put your hand on it without feeling heat.

Lastly, scatter the evidence of your fire. Replace the sod you dug up over the fire. Toss your fire-ring and any remaining sticks or logs out away from the camp (after making sure they are out!) scatter your ash and spread brush back over the area.

You really detailed that well, Andrew. Do you mind if I turn it into a wiki article?

Don’t use river or pond rocks in, on, under, or surrounding a fire. They absorb water over time. When that finally heats up enough, it WILL explode. Anything near it then gets sprayed with blazing hot rock fragments, ashes, embers, dirt, and steam. If they’re used for boiling, add that to the list and hope it isn’t already hot.