Everything you need to know about safely enjoying a campfire

Everything you need to know about safely enjoying a campfire

There’s only one thing bet­ter than relax­ing around the camp­fire in a park – and that’s doing it safe­ly. Here’s how.

If you’re look­ing for­ward to snug­gling around a camp­fire on your next camp­ing trip in a nation­al park, make sure you do the right thing. There are some impor­tant rules and safe­ty mea­sures you need to fol­low to make sure you and our nat­ur­al envi­ron­ments stay safe.

Before you set off on your vis­it, there’s a few things you need to consider:

  • Check whether a camp­fire is allowed in the park you want to vis­it, as many nation­al parks don’t allow sol­id fuel fires (wood and char­coal) at any time. Vis­it the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Service’s web­site and use the find a park tool to refine your search to Camp­fires (sea­son­al restric­tions apply)’. This will dis­play all the parks that allow campfires.
  • In parks where fires are per­mit­ted, they’re only allowed out­side of the Fire Dan­ger Sea­son for that region. Each park is unique, so check the safe­ty tab on the indi­vid­ual park page for Fire Dan­ger Sea­son dates and rules spe­cif­ic to that park.
  • Make sure you bring your own fire­wood, as col­lect­ing fire­wood with­in nation­al parks is pro­hib­it­ed. Ensure the fire­wood is free from dirt and weeds, to avoid bring­ing pest species into the park.

Now it’s time to build your campfire.

Build­ing a safe campfire

Fire­fight­ers say there are six basic rules for build­ing a safe campfire:

  1. Fires should be lit in cleared areas, where there are no over­hang­ing branch­es and min­i­mal grass and scrub.
  2. Ensure the camp­fire is a safe dis­tance from tents, and that any oth­er camp­ing equip­ment is stored well away from it – espe­cial­ly flam­ma­ble items such as gas cylin­ders, fuel cans etc.
  3. Where pos­si­ble, use a des­ig­nat­ed fire­place such as a bar­beque pit. In some parks this is your only option.
  4. Nev­er use any kind of flam­ma­ble liq­uid on a fire – even when you are try­ing to get it started.
  5. Have a buck­et of water and a shov­el nearby.
  6. Put out your camp­fires with a good amount of water, not sand or dirt.

Also, make sure that chil­dren are kept at least 1 metre away from the camp­fire so they don’t trip and fall into the fire.

Safest way to put out a campfire

Remem­ber, a camp­fire must nev­er be left unat­tend­ed. Stay safe by putting camp­fires out with water, not sand or dirt.

Kick­ing a bit of dirt or sand on the fire to put it out isn’t smart because it stays hot for more than eight hours. This means if you or your kids or the next campers to use the site lat­er touch the dirt-cov­ered fire for just a sec­ond, it can still be extreme­ly hot and it will burn skin.

Be smart – only put your camp­fire out with water. In 10 min­utes, it cools below 50 degrees and in eight hours it’s harmless.

If your clothes catch on fire:

  • Stop, cov­er, drop and roll.
  • Extin­guish areas with water if it’s still on fire.
  • Remove cloth­ing unless it’s stuck/​melted.

First aid for all burn injuries

  • Remove any cloth­ing and jew­ellery. Clothes hold in the heat and can make a burn worse.
  • Nev­er use ice, but­ter, tooth­paste or creams.
  • Apply 20 min­utes of cool run­ning water.
  • Cov­er the area with a clean cloth or clean plas­tic cling wrap (do not use cling wrap for the face).
  • Seek med­ical advice if the skin is bro­ken or the burn area is larg­er than a 20 cent piece.

This post was cre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with SA Health. For more infor­ma­tion on burns and safety:

  • SA Health Women’s and Children’s Hos­pi­tal Burns Ser­vice

    Phone (08) 8161 7000

  • Roy­al Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal Burns Unit

    Phone (08) 8222 4000

  • Par­ent Helpline (24 hr ser­vice)
    Phone 1300 364 100

Be pre­pared for your long week­end break with these eight essen­tial items. If it’s your first time camp­ing, check out ourtips for hap­py campers, and if you’ve got the kids in tow, here’s ourpoint­ers for a stress-free fam­i­ly hol­i­day.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living