There’s this famous bear who has a saying that is something along the lines of, “Exclusively you can avert wild fires.” That’s not exactly the saying but you can probably figure out what is being referenced here. When you go camping the fire becomes the central location of the camp site. It’s your source of warmth and light, it’s where you cook, and it’s the place where Steve breaks out his guitar and plays “Wonderwall” for the hundredth time. It’s truly one of the most important things you have when you camp and it’s extremely important that you keep it safe. When you are setting up your fire pit here are a few things to keep in mind.

Survey the area

Most campsites you will go to have premade fire pits ready for your usage. If not, check the area and make sure there are no low branches, brushes, or bushes nearby. When you’ve got that nice crackling fire things can sometime pop out of it. It’s best to keep those things away from other flammable objects.

Prep your site

It’s important to clean up the area around where you are going to start your fire. Many fire pits have a metal ring to keep the fire contained but if you are hitting a fresh campsite you may not have this option. Be sure to line your pit with a ring of rocks. Not pebbles. Rocks. Also, make sure you keep your tents and gear a safe distance away from the pit. Think 10 feet more or less.

Water and a shovel

These are key elements to have near your fire at all times and can help control a fire if it starts to spread. Water (preferably in a bucket) obviously puts out fire but you can also cover the flames with dirt to extinguish any rogue flames. You know what’s great for picking up dirt? A shovel.

Watch it

It’s extremely important to always have someone watching the fire. Fire spreads quickly and taking your eye off of it for a second can lead to a bigger fire than you can handle. This is extremely important when camping with children or pets due to their sometimes unpredictable behaviors.

Put out before bed

This goes hand and hand with the last tip. You need to put the fire out and make sure it’s out before going to bed. This is best done by using that trusty water bucket or the shovel to cover the pit in water or dirt. Make sure the coals are out by stirring them and once they are cold or wet or a combination of the two you are done.