With campgrounds opening up for the season, the concern about wildfires caused by campfires comes with it.
Oregon State Parks is providing tips to remind people about how to manage their campfires safely.
- Maintain campfire flames at knee height (no more than 2 feet high). A smaller flame helps prevent embers from rising into the trees or dry vegetation. If you see the wind stirring up embers, play it safe and put the fire out.
- In a state park campground, only build campfires in the existing fire ring in your campsite. Fire rings are placed in areas with buffer zones and away from vegetation.
- Always keep plenty of water on hand to safely put out the campfire. Douse the flames with water and stir the embers to make sure everything is wet. The stirring step is important: ash and wood debris often maintain heat. Repeat these steps until the fire no longer emits heat.
- Beach campfires should be on open sand and away from driftwood or vegetation and use only natural wood, rather than pallets or anything else that might have hidden nails or screws. Slowly pour water on your beach fire to put it out. Pouring water too quickly can cause hot sand to fly up. Don’t use sand to put out a beach fire. Covering the fire with sand will insulate the coals, keeping them hot enough to burn someone hours or days later.
- For propane fire rings, follow the same safety precautions you would with a log-based campfire. The use of propane fire rings may be restricted depending on local conditions.
- Make sure everyone in your campsite is familiar with campfire safety, including children. Always keep an eye on your campfire; many accidental fires are started because campers left their fire unattended for “just a minute.”
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A reminder that campfires and other open flames may be banned in campgrounds or on the beach at certain times during the season. Be sure to research conditions for the area near where you’re camping just before you head out. The Oregon State Parks website will post the latest information about campfires in state parks.
Oregon State Parks is also asking campers to not bring firewood from outside the local area they are visiting. That’s to battle invasive insects such as the emerald ash borer and other pests. You’re asked to buy firewood from within 10 miles of your destination or buy certified heat-treated firewood.