FACT SHEET Abandoned Campfires
July 23, 2012 11:00 AM
Contact: Public Affairs Officer: Tod McKay
What: Abandoned campfires
Location: West Fork Ranger District – Bitterroot National Forest
Summary: Bitterroot National Forest firefighters on routine patrol discovered and extinguished two abandoned campfires over the weekend. The fires were left burning in fire rings at camp areas on the West Fork Ranger District.
At one location, campers had already left the site. At the second, the campers left their fire smoldering while hiking down to a creek near their campsite.
In both cases, if fire crews had not been close by, the abandoned campfires could have quickly and easily spread with just a little wind.
This is the fifth abandoned campfire discovered and extinguished by firefighters this summer on the Bitterroot National Forest. Crews have also put out 20 lightning caused fires.
Prevention Message: It’s hotter and drier than you realize. With temperatures forecast in the 80-90’s this week, the moisture in the vegetation, especially at lower elevations is quickly drying out and is at greater risk for fire.
Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it’s your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire by following these tips:
1. Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
2. Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
3. Pour water until the hissing sound stops
4. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
5. Stir and make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch
6. If you don’t have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt and sand with the embers until material is cool
7. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave
For more campfire safety tips visit www.smokeybear.com.