For me, the most peaceful feeling invades the campground at night when the campfires are lit and their smell drifts through the air. There's something about sitting around a cozy campfire, staring at its glow, and watching the sparks dance upward against the evening sky. To enjoy a cozy campfire, here are some safety precautions and tips:
- Fire Restrictions
Before building any fires outdoors, check to be sure there aren't any fire restrictions. Ask the attendants when you arrive at the campground, or, if primitive camping, call the local forest district for information.
- Starting a Fire
Learn to start a fire simply with paper, matches, and kindling. I advise against using charcoal lighter fluid, gasoline, or kerosene. If the wood is too wet to burn, then you're better off without a fire as all it will do is pop and spark all night.
- No Bonfires Please
Small fires are easier to tend, you can sit closer to them without getting a tan, and the wood pile will last longer. Besides, you don't want kids roasting marshmallows or wieners over a bonfire.
- First Aid for Burns
The first response to a burn should be to apply ice or cold water. I's also good advice to include burn ointment and bandages in your camping first aid kit. Sparks and dust flying around campfires can get into the eyes, so include saline eye wash in your kit too.
- Cooking Over a Campfire
Campfires don't make very practical stoves or ovens. Sure, some foods taste good and are fun to cook over the campfire, but without appropriate utensils and a proper fire, the food will not cook correctly, and you'll likely wind up with blackened cookware.
- Bring On the Marshmallows
What's a campfire without the marshmallows? Just be careful to supervise young children and remember that marshmallows and other foods cooked over a campfire will be very hot at first.
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