A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Campfire safety: Keep the fun burning

Son helping dad build a campfire - Campfire safety

Build campfires away from tents and supervise children and fires at all times.

Go ahead. Put another log on the fire.

Campfires are a great way to spend time with family and friends as long as you build and tend them safely, but you could get burned if you’re careless.

Follow these tips for an accident-free campfire adventure.

Build a safe campfire

Look at your environment before you build a campfire. Don’t start a fire in dry or windy conditions.

Build your fire away from buildings, tents, overhanging branches, shrubs, dry grass and leaves. Use an existing fire ring surrounded by rocks or a portable fire pit.

Start your campfire with dry twigs and small sticks. Don’t use gas or kerosene to start a fire. The flames can follow the vapors to your hand or the bottle and cause serious injury.

Keep your campfire small and store firewood upwind and away from the fire. Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby to put out the fire when needed.

Supervise kids and fires

Talk with kids about the dangers of fire and campfire safety rules before building a fire. An adult should supervise the campfire at all times. Never leave children unattended around a campfire or hot fire pit.

Kids should stay three feet away from the fire pit at all times. Mark the safe zone by drawing a line in the dirt or making a circle with pebbles. Don’t let kids run or play near the fire.

Use long sticks to roast marshmallows or hot dogs. Parents should handle roasting duties for very young children.

Put out fires completely

Dump a bucket of water on your campfire to put it out. Stir the ashes and wood with a shovel to make sure everything is drenched. If the campfire is not completely out, wind can rekindle embers and start a wildfire.

Kids should stay away from the fire pit even though the fire is out. The pit can stay hot for 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished.

Know first aid for burns

Run minor burns under cool water until pain is reduced or relieved. Don’t use ice. Cover burns with a clean bandage that won’t stick to the skin and keep the area clean. Don’t apply ointments, oils or sprays to the burned area.

Call 911 or get emergency medical help for burns that cover large areas, burns to the hands, feet, face or genitals and electrical burns.

Going camping? Check out these Shine365 stories:

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