Three Ways to Make Your Bonfire as Safe as It Is Fun

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

fire protection handbookNo summer is complete without a bonfire's embers smoldering in the cloudy moonlight, the laughter of friends chorusing from an inside joke, or the warm summer breeze lazily fanning the flames.

Just as you have to have a bonfire, so too do you have to be safe around it. Any open flame can quickly become a dangerous hazard without preparing the proper fire protection equipment first. 

To help you be safe as you enjoy this summer staple, here are a few great tips from Smoky the Bear's fire protection handbook.

Before You Start the Fire.
Smoky's fire protection handbook recommends paying attention to the day's weather. If the forecast expects medium to high winds, it's probably best to reschedule the fire, as these winds could potentially cause the flames to spread.

As You're Building the Fire.
When you're building the fire, you should either dig out a three foot by three foot hole or use a store bought firepit. The fire protection handbook then suggests structuring the fire like a tepee, so that if it falls over, it falls inward. The fire protection handbook also warns against using any accelerants, which can significantly make the area around a fire more hazardous.

When the Fire's Burning.
Smoky's fire protection handbook recommends staying at least five feet away from the fire, lest it sparks and shoots dangerous embers out that could catch on your clothes. It also recommends having automatic fire suppression systems in place, since a fire can double in size in just 10 seconds if it spreads outside of the pit. Now, this doesn't mean using an A, C, D, or K fire extinguisher, which all have special purposes. Rather, the fire protection products Smoky recommends are a bucket of water and a shovel, which you can use to quickly and efficiently douse the flames and stir the embers if need be.

As long as you follow these tips from Smoky's fire protection handbook, your fire will be as safe as it is fun. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.