Clap your hands, sing a song, do a dance! This year Smokey Bear turned 75. That’s almost three generations of kids who have been raised learning that only they can prevent wildfires. We can all hear that deep, booming voice in our heads. The day at school when Smokey visited was always something we went home raving to our parents about. These fond memories served an important purpose though. Visit the USDA website to learn more about celebrating 75 years of Smokey Bear. There are some fun videos too!
We decided it would be fun to celebrate Smokey’s birthday and learn some fire safety at the same time. We had a party hats, ice cream, and popcorn. When we attended a Conservation Day event, the forestry department was there with a table full of great materials for learning how to prevent wildfires. These were all free! It’s amazing how much you can do off the trail to support your TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle.
So what do we do for outdoor fire safety? Most of us know that you should keep a bucket of water nearby, never leave the fire unattended, and make sure that our campfire is out completely. But as I was reading through an outdoor fire safety pamphlet, I found out that there is a little more to it than that.
It behooves us all to know
and practice campfire safety.
You should clear a 10 foot diameter of any brush or debris that could catch fire. Some may mistakenly think that you should bury your embers. This is not true. Burying your fire could cause smoldering that can break out. Mixing dirt or sand with the remains of the fire can put it out if you don’t have any water. You have to continue adding soil and mixing until it is completely cooled.
This may seem like information for campers; not hikers. But there will probably be plenty of times that you combine trail time with camping. Sometimes that sought after photo op is more that a day’s hike away.
It behooves us all to know and practice campfire safety. According to the USDA, nine out of ten wildfires are started by people! We all have a stake in preserving the beautiful places where we hike and bike. Always follow best practices. If you are not sure what to do, then visit the the USDA website to brush up (no pun intended) on your campfire safety procedures.
Are you planning any camp-outs in the near future? What can you do to prepare for the whole family to practice outdoor fire safety. What other trail situations can you think of that will require some fire safety knowledge? Look for local fire safety events to attend.