Going camping soon? Here are three important safety tips to follow:
1) Research. Make sure there's not a current burn ban where you're going. You can do this by checking with the area's local authorities or searching online. If the campground prohibits fires, do not build one under any circumstances.
"It's really good and important to know a lot of forest lands right now have a complete bun ban in effect until September. Not even in a camping ring, a lot of campgrounds, even approved fire pit areas in some of the campgrounds are not allowing fires right now," Pasco Fire Department Public Education Specialist Ben Shearer said.
2) Make sure the fire you build is the right size. Shearer says a common mistake people make is building fires that are too big for the areas they have. If there is no fire pit, make sure your fire is set up at least fifteen feet away from the tent, shrubs, trees, or any other flammable objects.
3) Be prepared for emergencies. Stay connected with the official social media accounts of the area and download the Code Red app, so you will know if you need to evacuate.
How to build a campfire safely:
1) Gather and stack three types of wood from around the area: tinder, kindling and fuel. Tinder includes small twigs, dry leaves, grass and needles. Kindling are sticks smaller than one inch around. Fuel are your larger pieces of wood.
2) Ignite the fire by sprinkling a little bit of lighter fluid on top, and use a match or lighter to start it. Make sure to put the lighter fluid away before lighting it.
3) It's best to let the fire go out on its own, but if you want to put it out, just use water.
"So once you're done burning, pull out any of the big fuel, big logs or any of the big pieces of wood. Get the fire knocked off of those. And make sure you're using lots of water. Stir it up, let it sit for a minute. And if you can't put your hand on it, then it's too hot to walk away from," Shearer said.
Drown all embers with water, not just the red ones, and pour water until the hissing noise stops. If you don't have water, you can stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel and bury the fire.
You can find a list of current state park burn bans here.