One of the great attractions of camping is being outdoors, next to nature, enjoying the fresh air and a campfire. Sitting around a warm and glowing campfire, enjoying a drink and the company of other campers is something that most people enjoy and appreciate.
But having a campfire in the proximity of a tent can be risky if you get things wrong and you’ll need to consider the position of your fire and tent.
The answer varies, but most experienced campers will let you know that any distance from forty to fifty feet is good, with a hundred feet being the best option if you can make the distance. Consider wind direction and the proximity of vegetation such as bushes and trees before setting your campfire.
Why do you need to keep the campfire away from tents?
If your imagination cannot go far enough to imagine how a tent may suddenly catch fire, some ways in which campfires have gone out of control in the past are described below.
- If the wind changes direction all of a sudden, an unattended fire could engulf the tents in the campsite and everything else with it.
- An overhead branch or hanging foliage could catch fire and turn a small campfire into an uncontrollable blaze.
- Children playing near the campsite could fall into the fire if accidentally pushed or shoved.
- Flying embers could make holes in tents, often burning them completely.
What is the ideal place to start a campfire?
What we’ve gone through above are ways how a campfire can go horribly wrong and how to avoid that scenario.
So, what is the ideal place to have a campfire?
Let’s have a look
- Use a fire ring if it is available at the camping site. This will help to contain the fire and keep it safe.
- A clearing with no hanging trees or foliage. Fire can spread among overhanging branches and foliage and can also damage tree trunks if too close
- A place that is at least fifty feet away from the campsite. Not only will you remove the risk of the fire spreading to tents, you will also reduce the levels of smoke that other campers may have to tolerate. Always consider others when thinking of lighting a fire.
Be aware of dry grass and undergrowth which can easily catch fire in dry weather and can quickly spread.
Clear away any debris from the area where you plan to have your campfire to reduce the risks.
Get permission first
You should check that a camp fire is allowed in the area that you choose to camp.
Many campsites have restrictions and some may or may not permit fires of any sort.
Always be considerate and follow the local advice and any restrictions that are in place.
What to use on your camp fire
Wherever possible you should try to take your own fuel.
Naturally this is not an ideal choice if you are wild camping.
Look for dead wood, that is clearly dead and don’t resort to cutting down trees or bushes to fuel your camp fire.
Needless to say, don’t burn rubbish, plastic or anything similar and never use petroleum type fuels on the fire.
Having a campfire is a great treat and almost a necessity when camping. To get the best enjoyment for everyone always make sure that your fire is located a safe distance away from your tent and bear in mind that the wind can blow embers for a considerable distance.
A small ember falling onto your tent can, at best burn a hole or, at worst cause your tent to erupt like the towering inferno.
With care and thought your campfire can be the fun experience that you want it to be.
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