Summer's official start is still a month away, but the outbreak of wildfires in 6 Western states, most notably Colorado and Arizona, suggests that responsible outdoor-minded people, particularly with a holiday weekend approaching, would be wise to review safe fire-handling practices.
The Colorado wildfire, affecting about 12 square miles, reportedly was started by the misuse of a camp stove, according to ABC News. Open fires, even the heat of a passing car, were cited as possible sources of other wildfires now in progress. Obviously, it's important to be careful with any heat source when camping or recreating in forests or wild lands.
The REI Expert Advice article Campfire Basics is a good source for refreshing your memory on techniques for safely dealing with fire. Here are just 3 useful reminders for responsible fire-users:
• Don't assume that fires are permitted in the area you are visiting. Check with a campground operator or with local land managers in advance.
• Never leave a campfire unattended. If you become distracted or inattentive, it can only take a few seconds for a fire to escape its area of containment, and hell could protentially break loose.
• Extinguish all fires by pouring water on them, stirring the ashes, then applying more water. Repeat as often as needed. Ashes should be cool to the touch before you leave the site. Don't rush your departure. Be utterly certain a fire and its embers are out and cold before you depart.
Thanks for being safe and attentive when using fire outdoors.