Bonfire Tips for Safety

The right bonfire tips can avert needless bonfire tragedies. Taking precautions will lessen the chance of possible injuries. Follow these guidelines for an incident-free bonfire.

The Location
Location needs to be taken into consideration prior to building a fire. A good rule to follow is to keep the fire a minimum of 25 feet from any type of building or vehicle. Avoid building the fire near low-hanging branches, tall grass, or brush. Basically, stay away from items that can easily catch on fire. If you're camping near the firepit, set up tents a good distance from the flames.

The Firepit
Building a proper firepit is one of the best precautions to take. Instead of building the fire on the surface of the ground, dig a hole at least 12 to 18 inches deep. The diameter of the firepit should be at least two feet wider than the fire will be. Place small rocks or gravel in the bottom of the pit for proper drainage. Make a circle of larger stones around the perimeter of the pit.  Don't pile firewood too high. A small amount of wood, combined with kindling materials, will start a good fire. Don't let flames exceed three feet in height or width.

Safety Necessities
Keep one or two five-gallon buckets of water or sand nearby. Either of these will help extinguish flames that get out of control. Having a fire extinguisher on hand is another good idea. Don't have flammable materials near the firepit. Gas, lighter fluid, and alcohol are combustible items that will feed the fire. Do have a shovel nearby. Once the bonfire burns out, use a shovel to turn the materials in the firepit so blowing embers won't sweep out of the pit and start a rogue fire elsewhere.

Common Sense
A bonfire needs constant attention. Only a responsible adult should tend the fire. Children should not be allowed to play near an open fire. Bring a first aid kit along. If an injury occurs, you'll have supplies available to dress any injury.
Being prepared for the worst while expecting the best is a good motto for bonfire safety. Build the fire in a safe location and have emergency materials necessary in case of a crisis.

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