Campfire Season: Are You Prepared?
YAKIMA, Wash.- Now with more locals taking advantage of the sunshine, campground park rangers want to warn you what not to do when starting your campfire or putting it out.
Edward Locke has camped out at several different sites in Washington, and says he's seen many campers who have caught their sites on fire because they didn't take care of their pit.
"They'll build fires, sometimes big fires and don't care about the embers popping out. They'll go to take a nap and they leave their fire burning, all sorts of things like that," said Locke.
Sportsman Park Aid Kenny Bommersbach says those habits could cost you thousands or even worse, your life. He says the first thing you need to do is check your surroundings.
"You'd want to look around your camp fire, make sure there's no dry debris or anything like that. You want to be at least a good foot away from any kind of debris that will catch on fire," said Bommersbach.
Bommersbach says when starting your fire, use a fire starter or dry paper is your best option. He says many campers use lighter fluid, but those can be more dangerous to use.
"They call it backsplash, where the fluid itself will splash up at you and catch on fire, or as your are squirting it on, it will travel up to the bottle," said Bommersbach.
He says putting out your fire is the key step that many campers forget to follow, and the best way to put out a fire is either with water or dirt.
"You want to put it out until you see no flames, and after the flames are gone you want to wait a little bit and feel it and make sure the ground is cold before you leave it," said Bommersbach.
If your campfire ends up getting out of control, National Park Service states that campers are responsible for paying for the damages. That can range between a few hundred to a thousand dollars.