Be Safe Around Campfires and Hot Coals

Summer nights are perfect for having a campfire with your family. You can sing songs, tell stories and roast marshmallows to make s’mores. Keep your campfire experience fun and safe with these tips from the UW Health Burn Center:

  • Always have an adult around. Children should never build a fire alone
  • Be sure your fire pit has a sturdy border around it
  • Keep fires at least 10 feet away from the house and other structures
  • Keep the campfire small so that you can manage it
  • Choose one person to be in charge of adding wood to the fire
  • Do not throw or use flammable liquids on a fire
  • Never throw trash on a fire, especially bottles and cans
  • Keep a safety zone of at least 3 feet when standing or sitting around the fire. You can use long sticks or extendable forks  to roast marshmallows.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to stop, drop and roll. Explain to your kids that if their clothes accidentally start on fire they should stop, cover their face, drop to the ground and roll around to put out the flame.
  • Have plenty of water and a shovel nearby in case the fire starts burning outside of the fire area. If you don’t have water, you can use dirt!
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.

When you are ready to leave, pour water on the fire until the hissing sound stops, stir and pour water again until everything is wet and cold to the touch. Never to assume a campfire is out just because they don’t see flames. Coals can stay hot for more than 24 hours after the flames go out. Teach kids NEVER to play or run through ash/coal, even if they are sure it’s not hot.

Remember what Smokey the Bear says: “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!”