Do you know how to put out a campfire properly?
We in Australia have all seen the devastation caused by bushfires, and we can never be complacent about a fire.
In summer, the need to extinguish a camp fire in its entirety is more important than ever. With so much dry vegetation, all it needs is a spark, and property and lives are placed at risk.
Many fires are banned from November through to April, but that doesn’t stop people having them sometimes, especially when they feel safe, like next to a river.
Regardless of the time of the year – you still need to do it properly and safely.
So here is a refresher for anyone who camps.
1. Allow the fire to burn down to ash if possible.
That might take a bit of “thinking ahead” – don’t throw on that extra log if you are planning on calling it a night a short time afterward. With a stick or shovel, separate the wood from the charcoal to help slow the fire down.
2. Slowly sprinkle water on the fire, including embers. Do this carefully as pockets of air could cause the fire to hiss and spit and you. If there is a lot of smoke – just wait a little, and try again.
3. Keep adding water until the hissing stops.
4. With a shovel, stir the embers and ash so everything in the fire is damp/wet.
5. If you do not have enough water for points 2-4, you need to use dirt or sand. You are trying to suffocate the embers, depriving them of oxygen.
Do NOT bury the fire with the dirt, but move the dirt/sand through the embers. A buried fire can smolder, and then re-ignite.
6. Final check to see if that fire is really out. If it's cool to touch, then its safe to leave. If it’s hot, then you need to do more work on it. Poke a stick in the embers and see if you see any bright spots when you stir the ash. If so, you need to wet the campfire again.
Sitting around a campfire is definitely a highlight of camping.
But it’s important for you, me and everyone, to know how to safely put out a fire, so the parks and forests remain bushfire free.
"People must also remember that on the spot fines of over $300 can be given for not complying with campfire conditions, and convictions for serious offences carry fines of between $5,000 and $10,000, or imprisonment."