Outdoor Fire Pit Rules

Outdoor Fire Pit RulesWhether you're camping on the beach, in the woods or under the stars in the desert, it doesn't feel like camping without a campfire. No matter where you are when using an outdoor fire pit, it is important to remember the local laws.

Burn Bans

Before making a campfire, check with local authorities to find out the regulations. Many backcountry campgrounds in national parks allow only gas stoves. Additionally, burn bans might be in effect during excessively dry weather.

Use Fire Pit

Most campgrounds provide preexisting metal campfire pits. If there isn't one, you can create your own out of rocks or stones. To do this, place softball-size rocks in a circle to form a ring. The purpose of a fire pit is to contain the fire in a designated area.

Clear the Area

Before lighting the fire, make sure the area is cleared of all dead leaves, grass and other flammable items. Also make sure there are no low-hanging branches or brush near the fire pit.

Plan Ahead

Gather tinder, kindling, rounds and larger wood before lighting the campfire. Make sure you have water close by in case the fire gets out of hand.

Put it out Completely

Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area. Pour water on all embers until the hissing stops. Stir the pit with a shovel or stick and pour more water. Make sure everything is cold to the touch. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave unattended.

Leave No Trace

Always leave a campsite better than you found it. Never cut down living trees for wood. Clean up the area before you leave. This allows others who come after you to enjoy the area too.

Article Written By Casey Knopik

Casey Knopik grew up in the foothills of Mount Rainier and currently resides in the Seattle, Wash. area. He graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in journalism. Knopik has written for "The Easterner," "Sports Northwest Magazine" and many local newspapers. His articles appear on Trails.com.

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