Campfire safety: If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave

Campfire safety: If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave
Photo courtesy Flickr user JD Hancock/Creative Commons

TILLER, Ore. - Firefighters found 8 smoldering campfires over the weekend on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest alone.

The USDA Forest Service said no fire restrictions are in place on the forest. But the hot, dry conditions in the Umpqua Basin argue for campfire safety.

Left to smolder, campfires can reignite and spread to nearby vegetation, sparking forest fires.

The Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) has also seen a spike in illegal campfires in the last week, which poses a huge threat for fire.

All open fires are prohibited on DFPA protected lands due to the Regulated Use Closure.

This includes campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations (Designated campground list can be found on the DFPA Web site).

Smokey Bear recommends the following techniques for completely extinguishing a campfire:

  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
     
  • Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
     
  • Pour until hissing sound stops
     
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
     
  • Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
     
  • Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
     
  • If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool.
     
  • Do not bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

Make sure the fire is dead out by putting your hand in the ashes. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.