Children should always be under supervision when near a campfire or charcoal grill. Adults should always supervise any activity, such as campfire cooking or roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Long sticks are best for this purpose and children should be warned beforehand not to jostle or roughhouse near the fire. Young children should have an adult's help while attempting to roast hot dogs or marshmallows on a stick. Older children should stand as far from the fire as possible while engaging in this activity. Remember that as bedtime approaches, even after the fire has burned down, the presence of hot embers and coals can pose a significant danger to an unsupervised child (especially a barefoot one). Any lighters, matches and potentially flammable liquids should not be where young children have access to them.
Fires should be within the confines of fire pits at campsites. If there is no pit, carefully choose a suitable spot to make your fire pit away from trees, far from overhanging branches, high grass and dead timber. The ground around a campfire should be free of any debris that can burn and potentially spread a fire into the surrounding area. Anything that could cause a child to potentially trip near the fire should be removed, so be sure to keep fires away from where children will be playing. Adults should establish a defined safety area near the campfire for activities such as cooking and relaxing. A play area for children should exist well away from where the fire is.
Vigilance, Safety & Extinguishing Your Campfire
A campfire left unattended is a calamity waiting to happen. The fire should always have someone nearby to it watching for any problems. However, adults should never leave children in charge of a campfire. Parents and guardians should try to set specific rules about who has access to the fire for purposes of adding wood or extinguishing it. Safety measures call for the wood for the fire to sit no less than five feet from the flames and upwind of the fire. There should always be a shovel and a full bucket of water nearby to a campfire in case someone needs to extinguish it. Remember to begin the extinguishing process at least thirty minutes before you plan to leave your campsite. This will insure that the fire is put out altogether and correctly, with no glowing embers remaining. Even the remains of a flameless smoldering campfire can reignite. A small gust of wind can reignite the fire or carry smoldering ash to nearby dry brush and cause a wildfire. Cover burned-out campfires with dirt or water to ensure the ashes and embers are completely out.