As summer starts to subside and the cooler weather starts rolling in, now is the perfect time to enjoy an evening campfire under the stars with family and friends.
Although campfires are fun, there are inherent risks to them, which is why you want to ensure your land, home, and community are safe when having one. Learn how by following these campfire safety tips.
Can I Have a Campfire on My Property?
Generally, you do not need permission to have a campfire in your backyard. However, the rules and procedures are not uniform, so it is important to check local regulations from your neighborhood, town, state, etc.
To avoid home fires, your campfire must be at least 10 ft away from your property line and 25ft away from any flammable materials. These include your home, garage, shed, even low-hanging branches, etc. In suburban and rural areas, homeowners can typically accommodate these conditions. Unfortunately for urban settings, the surrounding area is usually too small to accommodate a campfire.
Campfire Safety Tips
1. ONLY Burn Wood
Burning certain materials can be dangerous for those surrounding the campfire and can cause smoke inhalation. Smoke from objects like plastic contains harmful chemicals. And with other items, they can create a poisonous gas. Even common burning materials like paper contain ink and adhesives that release toxins when burned.
Instead, you should strictly stick to burning firewood. Woods like oak, ash, cedar, and hickory are great for campfires. Also, you want to avoid burning branches with leaves. Unless you have somebody trained, you could accidentally burn poison ivy or sumac, which is incredibly harmful to your lungs.
2. NEVER Leave a Campfire Unattended
Under no circumstances should you leave a campfire unattended, even for a minute or two. Whether you believe it is contained or not, fires can double every 30 seconds, making them incredibly dangerous when left alone.
That is why it is important to completely extinguish a fire whenever you are done. Even if there aren’t any flames, hot coals can ignite surrounding materials. You can either douse the campfire with water or smother it with larger logs covered in water.
3. Be Extra Cautious with Kids and Pets
Campfires are undeniably alluring, which is why you want to keep a close eye on any children or pets around the fire while it burns. It is essential to teach your kids about fire safety. These include the essentials such as stop, drop, and roll. Likewise, they should also know the dangers of campfires and why they should stay back and let the adults handle them.
As for pets, you don’t want them to hurt themselves or start a fire by grabbing a burning log. For younger or less-trained pets, you should keep them on a leash or mounted somewhere far enough away from the campfire. You can also train them to stay clear of fires while they burn, so they can have more freedom while you relax outside.
4. Fire Pit Guidelines
You can either install a fire pit or build one yourself. If you go the latter route, you should again check your local regulations about building one. A fire pit should be at least 8 inches wide. However, the sweet spot is generally 12 and 18 inches. If you make your fire pit too wide or high, you could run into regulation issues.
Before building the base, you want to dig a few inches into the ground and then cover the hole with a layer of sand or gravel. Then, you want to take stone blocks and position them as closely as you can together to minimize the space in between. This helps prevent embers or burning logs from slipping through the cracks.
Building a fire pit is a lot easier than people think and a great addition to have for your backyard. If you need more campfire safety tips or would like to learn how ADS Security can protect your home from fires, contact us today.