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It is the time of year where the weather is cooling off and we are all getting outside more. If you live in an area where there are hiking trails, camping and the many other outdoor activities, you are bound to see campfires and charcoal grills lighting up the trails. It’s a fun and nostalgic time of year, cooking s’mores over the fire, roasting hot dogs, or warming up your cold fingers and toes. But there is a dimmer side to campfires that many people do not think about.
The sad truth is that nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are still caused by humans
Although most of us don’t behave this way intentionally, each year we learn of devastating wildfires caused by careless behavior which can impact millions of acres of forest and thousands of homes.
Common ways YOU could unintentionally start a wildfire
- unattended debris burning
- equipment fires such as from lawnmowers, ATVs, power equipment
- unattended campfires
- carelessly discarding fireplace or BBQ ashes
It is so important to understand the safety and prevention of wildfires. They are damaging not only to the forest but can also be damaging to any homes and structures around them as well. It really isn’t all that difficult to take steps to ensure that you are doing what it takes to prevent a wildfire.
Wildland-urban interface fires tend to be more damaging than urban structural fires, and behave differently from structural fires. The wildland-urban interface is the area where homes and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped forests, grasslands, or other natural areas.
People who live in these areas often forget or disregard the wildland fire cycles and dangers. Homes and other structures are built and maintained in a manner that leaves them and their occupants vulnerable. Thus, fire becomes a significant threat to both humans and natural resources.
Smokey Bear’s Campfire Safety Guide
How to Pick Your Spot Here are steps for picking your burning site to promote wildfire safety.
How to Build and/or Prepare Your Campfire Pit Before you start your campfire, you need to prepare and arrange an appropriate pit.
How to Build Your Campfire If you find a good pit at your campsite, it’s time to safely build your campfire!
How to Maintain and Extinguish Your Campfire Safety doesn’t end when the fire’s lit. Learn how to safely maintain and put out your campfire here.
How else can you help? Be smart when you go outdoors! Show your commitment to wildfire prevention. Join me in taking the Smokey Bear Pledge!
- To use caution and common sense before lighting any fire.
- To understand that any fire I or my friends create could become a wildfire.
- To understand and practice proper guidelines whenever I or my friends create a fire outdoors.
- To never, ever leave any fire unattended.
- To make sure any fire that I or my friends create is properly and completely extinguished before moving on.
- To properly extinguish and discard of smoking materials.
- To be aware of my surroundings and be careful when operating equipment during periods of dry or hot weather.
- To speak up and step in when I see someone in danger of starting a wildfire.