As summer approaches and more people head outdoors for camping trips and outdoor activities, it’s important to remember the responsibility of building a campfire.
While campfires can be a fun and memorable part of any camping experience, it’s crucial to properly extinguish them before leaving the site.
Not only does this ensure the safety of yourself and others, but it also helps prevent wildfires and protect the environment.
In this blog post, we’ll go over the steps to safely put out a campfire and emphasize the importance of taking this responsibility seriously.
What You Need
Before you even think about lighting a match, you need to have a few key things on hand to prepare for the task at hand properly.
Here are some essential supplies and protective gear that you’ll need to gather before starting a fire:
Water: Water is one of the most important things you’ll need when starting a fire. Not only will you need it to extinguish the flames when you’re done, but it’s also helpful to have on hand in case the fire gets out of control.
Shovel: A shovel can be used to clear the area where you plan to start the fire, ensuring no dry brush or debris could catch fire and spread.
Fire extinguisher: While not necessary, having a fire extinguisher on hand can provide an added layer of safety if the fire gets out of control.
Protective gear: Protecting yourself when starting a fire is important, as flames can easily reach high temperatures. Heat-resistant gloves are a must-have to protect your hands, and you may also want to consider wearing a hat and long sleeves to shield your skin.
10 Ways To Put Out A Campfire
1. Fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher serves as a vital tool for swiftly and efficiently quelling campfires. Engineered to rapidly combat flames, it discharges specialized chemicals or gases that effectively stifle fires at their source.
This portable device offers a critical line of defense, allowing individuals to take immediate action in emergency situations. Whether it’s a small blaze or an escalating fire, a fire extinguisher empowers users with the means to mitigate risks and ensure safety.
Pouring water over a campfire is a fundamental and effective method for extinguishing it safely. By dousing the flames with water, you ensure that the fire is fully quenched and that any lingering embers are thoroughly cooled down.
This practice is essential to prevent any potential re-ignition of the fire and to mitigate the risk of spreading any remaining heat to the surrounding area.
Whether you’re in a backyard setting or out in the wilderness, using water to extinguish a campfire is a responsible and reliable way to leave the site safe and secure.
Covering the campfire with sand is another effective method for extinguishing it. As you spread a layer of sand over the burning embers, you effectively cut off the oxygen supply that the fire requires to continue burning.
This process, known as smothering, rapidly reduces the fire’s ability to sustain itself. By denying the fire access to oxygen, you’re essentially eliminating one of the three components of the fire triangle (fuel, heat, and oxygen), thus ensuring a quick and efficient fire extinguishing process.
It’s important, however, to ensure that you use enough sand to completely cover the fire and any remaining hot spots to prevent any chances of re-ignition.
Using dirt to extinguish a campfire is a practical method akin to using sand. By smothering the fire with a layer of dirt, you effectively starve it of oxygen, which is crucial for combustion.
To ensure thorough extinguishing, it’s important to blend the dirt well with the embers, covering all burning materials. This process effectively cuts off the fire’s access to oxygen, ultimately leading to its cessation.
Just as with sand, the combination of dirt and proper mixing helps guarantee the campfire is fully and safely extinguished.
5. Fire blanket
A fire blanket is a crucial safety tool crafted from flame-resistant material. This versatile device serves to swiftly smother flames, making it particularly effective for dealing with campfires.
By enveloping the fire completely, a fire blanket cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply, effectively extinguishing the flames.
Its durable and heat-resistant construction ensures its reliability in emergency situations. Whether for campfires or other fire-related incidents, a fire blanket stands as a reliable defense against uncontrolled flames, promoting safety and peace of mind.
6. Fire Rake
A fire rake is a valuable specialized tool designed for efficiently managing campfires. Its purpose revolves around breaking apart and dispersing burning materials within the fire pit.
By using a fire rake, individuals can accelerate the cooling process of the embers, reducing the risk of potential reignition.
This tool proves particularly useful when ensuring that all remnants of the fire are thoroughly extinguished, promoting safety and responsible outdoor practices.
7. Fire Retardant Foam
Fire retardant foam is a valuable chemical solution designed to swiftly and effectively tackle flames in various scenarios, including campfires. When sprayed onto a fire, this foam creates a barrier that suppresses flames and curbs their progression, playing a pivotal role in preventing fires from spreading uncontrollably.
Widely employed in firefighting operations, this foam adheres to surfaces and smothers the fire by depriving it of oxygen, thus aiding firefighting teams in gaining the upper hand.
Its effectiveness in reducing the intensity of flames makes it a crucial tool for managing and mitigating fire risks in outdoor environments, such as campsites, ensuring safety and minimizing environmental impact.
8. Fire Pit Cover
A fire pit cover serves as a vital protective barrier that effectively seals off a campfire, halting the supply of oxygen to the flames and facilitating their extinguishment.
This simple yet ingenious tool plays a crucial role in fire safety by preventing the fire from rekindling and ensuring the complete cessation of combustion.
By enclosing the fire pit with a cover, campers can efficiently and safely bring an end to the fire, mitigating any potential risks associated with lingering embers.
9. Fire Smothering Technique
The fire smothering technique offers an effective means of extinguishing a campfire swiftly and safely. By employing a substantial, non-flammable object like a metal lid or a damp blanket, the flames can be stifled and their potential to spread eliminated.
This method works by cutting off the fire’s access to oxygen, a crucial component for its sustenance.
As the non-flammable material covers the fire, it curtails its ability to burn, gradually quelling the flames until they are fully extinguished. This technique is a practical alternative, especially when water is scarce or inaccessible.
10. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguisher
A carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher serves as an effective method for extinguishing campfires. By discharging a concentrated burst of carbon dioxide, this type of extinguisher displaces the oxygen surrounding the fire, leading to its smothering and rapid suppression.
The CO2’s quick action makes it a valuable tool in controlling flames, especially in outdoor settings like campfires. However, while utilizing a CO2 extinguisher, it’s crucial to exercise caution and maintain a safe distance to avoid exposure to the extremely cold discharge and potential frostbite.
When used properly, a CO2 extinguisher can provide a reliable means to swiftly and efficiently douse campfires.
Don’t Let Your Campfire Become A Wildfire
Enjoying the outdoors comes with the responsibility to protect our environment. To prevent your campfire from escalating into a destructive wildfire:
Choose the Right Location: Set up your campfire in designated fire pits or cleared areas away from dry grass, branches, and overhanging trees.
Size Matters: Keep your campfire small. A compact fire is easier to manage and less likely to spread.
Clear the Area: Remove flammable materials like leaves and twigs within a 5-foot radius of the fire.
Attend Vigilantly: Never leave your campfire unattended, even for a short while. Wind can carry embers, and sparks can ignite nearby vegetation.
Have Extinguishing Tools: Keep a shovel, water, or a fire extinguisher nearby. Use these to thoroughly extinguish the fire before leaving.
Drown the Flames: Pour water on the fire, stirring it with a stick to ensure all embers are soaked. Repeat until everything is cool to the touch.
Feel the Heat: Before leaving, touch the ashes to make sure they are cold and no longer generating heat.
Wind Awareness: Be cautious on windy days. A gust can swiftly turn a harmless fire into a dangerous blaze.
Follow Regulations: Abide by local fire regulations and any fire bans that may be in place.
Spread the Word: Educate fellow campers about responsible fire practices to collectively safeguard our natural spaces.
Properly extinguishing a campfire prevents wildfires and ensures the environment’s safety.
By following these steps, you can effectively put out a campfire. Start by reducing the flame using a long stick or poker and allowing the flames to die down naturally.
Then, douse the fire with water, ensuring all embers, coals, and remaining wood are thoroughly saturated. Stir the ashes and embers to expose hidden, hot spots, adding more water if necessary until all hissing sounds cease.
Finally, properly dispose of the ashes and monitor the area to ensure the fire is completely extinguished.
Remember, never leave a campfire unattended; always prioritize safety when dealing with fires.
Hi, I m Aaron Smith, a firefighter, and creator of Firefighterline.com, a website that provides top-notch training courses for firefighting organizations. After completing my studies, I quickly rose through the fire service ranks, eventually becoming Captain at one of the busiest fire departments in the state.