Camp Fire Safety

SUMMARY

Who doesn’t love a glowing camp fire at the end of the day? However, to make sure it won’t be your tent that burns, let’s look at some good fire safety practices.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Handbooks for each program—Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouting—have useful tips for camp fires. These include the following:

  • NO FLAMES IN TENTS! Even if the tent has a vent for a wood-burning stove, don’t use it. Instead, set up a dining fly. Then, at least 3 feet away from the dining fly, set up a camp stove for your cooking area.
  • The NO FLAMES rule also applies to candle lanterns, citronella coils, or anything else that is ignited by a flame.
  • Infrared heaters—the type commonly used at worksites by construction crews—should also never be placed inside a tent.
  • Matches, lighters, and items used as fire starters such as shredded paper or paraffin wax and sawdust should be stored outside of your tents in a secure box or bag. Items that are “smellables” and could attract wild animals like bears should be placed in a “bear bag” and hung in a tree away from the campsite.
  • Camp stoves, which typically have two or more burners and use propane, butane, or white gas as fuel, should be set up properly, following the manufacturer’s instructions. A solution of soapy water should be used to test for gas leakage at all threaded connections.
  • Also make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when igniting the burners on a camp stove.

RESOURCES