Campfire Safety – DFES

Campfire Safety – DFES

When you are hiking or camping it’s important to carry a portable AM/FM radio with you and listen for information and remain alert for any signs of smoke or fire.

If a fire starts and it’s too late to leave, avoid seeking refuge near trees, scrub, long grass and leaves instead try to find shelter in a solid structure if possible to help block radiant heat.

Before you light a fire:

• To reduce a fire risks always check the weather conditions in your camping area
• Do not light or maintain a campfire on dry, windy days
• Do no light or maintain a campfire when the Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is very high, severe, extreme or catastrophic
• Do not light a campfire during a Total Fire Ban (TFB). When a TFB is declared it is illegal to do anything that is likely to start a fire which includes cooking outside using an open fire. You could be fined or jailed or both if you ignore the TFB

Tips for building your campfire safely:

• Camp in a safe location that is clear of flammable vegetation such as long grass and spinifex
• Use a built fireplace where provided or dig a 30 centimetre deep trench to house the fire and prevent embers from flying out
• Create a border around the fire using large rocks
• Light the campfire in a cleared area. Remove branches, leaves and twigs from the ground and above the flames to create a clearing of three metres around the fire
• Ensure the fire is three metres away from tents and other camping equipment is stored well away, especially flammable items such as gas cylinders and fuel cans
• Never use flammable liquid or fuel such as petrol or diesel on a fire even when you are trying to start it
• You should take the same safety precautions when using appliances with naked flames such as gas stoves and gas lanterns, as they can be blown over by wind and cause a fire

This diagram shows that your fire should be three metres from anything that could catch fire.

Looking after your campfire:

• Keep your fire just big enough for cooking and keeping warm
• Never leave your fire unattended, not even for a minute. Put your fire out properly with water not soil, even if going for a short walk or swim
• Extinguish your fire at night. Many children get burned by campfires in the morning from hot ashes and embers
• Supervise children and pets at all times when near a fire
• Use only fallen dead wood. Branches or leaves from living trees damages the environment and can cause high levels of smoke
• Keep a bucket of water nearby

Putting your campfire out:

• Make sure to extinguish completely your fire using water
• Do not use soil. Fires can still smoulder under soil and can stay hot for more than eight hours. This is a danger to anyone walking in the area once you have gone

Basic campfire safety:

• Do not burn dangerous or flammable items, such as aerosol cans as they can explode
• Cans and other aluminium products do not burn
• Never put glass in your campfire as it will melt and shatter or explode hitting people nearby
• Never put unopened tins of food on a fire to cook as they may explode and cause injuries
• Call Triple Zero (000) to report a fire

Original article courtesy of Dept of Fire & Emergency WA

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