A camping trip isn’t complete without a good campfire, but we need to make sure we are aware of proper campfire safety. We typically use fire while camping for cooking, and also to warm up fingers and toes. Fire helps incinerate waste, create light, forge and create items and even signal for help. But fire can be as harmful as it is helpful, so it should always be treated with proper respect and precaution.
Before you set out to your campground you should always check if there is a fire ban in effect.
In the event of a fire ban in your area, a propane fire pit may be permitted.
If the weather is windy and dry, you should save a campfire for another time. Wind can easily carry hot embers or sparks from the fire to dry surrounding vegetation. This can potentially catch and start a forest fire.
Once you have checked the weather and local fire bans to ensure it is safe to start a campfire, you are ready to begin preparing the site. Most campgrounds have already done this step for you by providing a pre-dug firepit and a surrounding fire ring. If you are camping off the grid or at a campground that has not built fire pits, you’ll need to make your own.
Building Your Campfire
Build your fire away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, dry grass, leaves, chemicals, or fuel tanks.
To learn how to build to perfect campfire click here!
Never leave your campfire unattended, and have a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
Stack extra firewood a safe distance upwind from the fire, and use hard dry wood. Softwood, such as pine, gives off lots of sparks.
Wet wood with thick bark will lead to lots of smoke. Try peeling the bark off the firewood to expose the dry wood inside. There is no need to build a massive fire and create more of a hazard. A small campfire with hot coals can put out a lot of heat!
Dousing the Campfire
With a proper size fire and good timing, your fire should be ready to die by the time you are ready to extinguish it. If you can allow the firewood to burn down to ash it is easier to extinguish. Start by spreading the coals as much as you can with a shovel, increasing airflow, and removing any unburnt fuel to help it cool faster.
Once you have spread the coals it is time to douse the fire. Water is the best option, but you can also use sand or dirt if you do not have access to water. Pour the water onto the embers until the hissing stops, or throw a thin layer of dirt or sand onto the coals to inhibit its access to oxygen. Be careful not to apply too much dirt or sand, which can insulate the embers and potentially reignite later.
Stir the remaining ash to find the remaining embers. If large logs remain, rotate and scrape the embers off of it before placing it burnt side down into the water.
Repeatedly stir, douse, and stir again until all the embers are extinguished and the fire is cool to the touch. You can also add a layer of dirt or sand on top as a precaution.
Roughly 8,000 wildfires occur every year in Canada, consuming an average of 2.5 million hectares every year since 1990. Although climate change is driving the increasing severity, 4 out of 5 wildfires are caused by humans. We all need to take precautions and do our part in preventing a devastating wildfire.
Dispose of used matches and cigarette butts into closed containers or a cup of water. Never throw cigarette butts out car windows into a dry area.
If your vehicle is still hot, don’t park it right on top of dry grass! Always be careful to not spill any gas, motor oil, or propane when you are refilling something.
Off-road vehicles, tractors, dirt bikes, and ATVs that are used in wooden areas should have spark arrestors to prevent a fire.
When you are lighting fireworks always have water or a fire extinguisher on hand. You can even wet down the ground around the fireworks before you light them.
Once you’ve lit your fireworks and enjoyed, douse the used fireworks in water to cool them quickly.
If you see an unattended fire, immediately call 911 or your local fire station.
RV Campfire Safety
National Fire Prevention estimates 20,000 RV fires occur annually, half of which occur while the RV is parked. But don’t let these statistics scare you! RV fires are completely preventable with proper care and upkeep of your RV and mindfulness while camping.
Our parts department has a variety of propane, carbon monoxide, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers that are the perfect size for RV use!
Tire Monitoring Systems
Fires can also happen while you are on the road. Tire fires are a result of the tire being ready to blow or go flat. RV tire blowouts are much more dangerous than ordinary car blowouts. Motorhomes have larger tires, more weight, and more air pressure.
Your RV tires rub against the pavement and create heat while you are driving. The increases the air pressure from when the RV was parked and the tires were cold. If your tires are not properly inflated it can lead to premature wearing of the rubber, and more fuel consumption.
A tire monitoring system immediately puts your mind at ease! It monitors the temperature and air pressure of each tire, immediately alerting you if anything changes or becomes a potential issue. The tire monitoring system allows you to get off the road before an accident happens, and can save your RV.
Advanced suppression agent fire extinguishers are perfect for RVs because of their small size.
Most new RV’s come with one fire extinguisher, but you should actually have 3-4 extinguishers throughout your RV. If a fire starts in an RV’s front kitchen, but the fire extinguisher is by the rear entry door, those precious seconds spent dashing to reach your extinguisher could mean the loss of your RV. Having an extinguisher in each room of the RV allows you to quickly put out a fire before it grows into something more serious.
Along with your fire alarms, you should also check your fire extinguishers at least once a year. Check the pressure, expiry date, then flip it upside down and smack the base of the extinguisher with your hand to mix the substance inside and prevent settling
Your RV should be properly equipped with a fire alarm, a carbon monoxide detector, and a propane detector. At Traveland our new RVs all come standard with each of these alarms. We also sell them in our parts department if you are purchasing a used unit that may be missing one.
You should replace the batteries of your smoke alarm every year. After 5 years replace the alarm entirely to ensure it is always going to work perfectly.
Everyone camping should familiarize themselves with what each alarm sounds like in case of an emergency. You should have at least two escape routes out of the RV. Find the emergency escape windows in your RV and always double-check that you can open them easily. Have a plan and practice it with everyone who is staying in the RV in case of an emergency.
Fifth Wheel owners who have a bedroom in the upper gooseneck of the trailer can place a latter outside beneath their bedroom escape window. In the event of a fire, jumping from the front bedroom of a Fifth Wheel would be quite a leap!
Have your RV inspected annually by one of our Traveland RV Technicians!
Furnace and fridge maintenance, transferring switch lugs, testing propane fittings, greasing wheel bearings, axles, and the list goes on! Your RV requires essential maintenance that should be done at least once a year. Failure to do so can put you and your family at a higher risk for an accident or a fire next time you are camping. Luckily, we have the perfect people for the job at your local Traveland dealership! Our certified RV techs will happily service and inspect your RV for you, putting your mind at ease for the rest of the year.