Even as cooler weather dominates the forecast for some parts of the state, the state Department of Natural Resources will maintain its statewide burn ban until Sept. 30. During the ban, campfires may be allowed, but only in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds. Campers are not allowed to build their own fire pits.
Department officials suggests always checking to see if there are additional local restrictions on campfires before leaving home to go camping or hiking. Because campgrounds may choose to ban campfires, it’s best to check with the campground host before lighting a campfire, said a department news release.
In areas where campfires are allowed, the department passed along these recommendations:
- Use an existing fire ring, don’t create a new one.
- Clear all vegetation away from the fire ring (remove all flammable materials, such as needles, leaves, sticks, etc.).
- Keep your campfire small.
- Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
When putting out your campfire, you should:
- First, drown the campfire with water.
- Mix the ashes and embers with soil. Scrape all partially-burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off of them.
- Stir the embers after they are covered with water and make sure everything is wet.
- Feel the coals, embers, and any partially-burned wood with your hands. Everything, including the rock fire ring, should be cool to the touch. Move the rocks, feel under them to make sure no embers are underneath. Make sure roots are not burning.
- When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.
- If you don’t have water, use moist dirt. Be careful not to bury any hot or burning material as it can smolder and later start a wildfire.
- Finally, check the entire campsite for possible sparks or embers, because it only takes one to start a forest fire.
- If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
Daily updates on burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels by zone are available on the department’s web site or by calling 1-800-323-BURN.