How Do I Safely Build And Use A Campfire During The Summer In Montana?

To me there is nothing better than sitting around a campfire in the mountains during a Montana summer night.

A Campfire in the mountains

However during the summer we run the risk of wildfires here in Montana so it's on us to be smart when it comes to campfires.

Six tips to make sure your campfires are safe in Montana.

We got these six tips from our neighbors to the west, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. They are pretty universal and by following them you'll ensure not just your safety but also the safety of your fellow campers.

Here are the six tips the OPRD says to follow for your next campfire,

  1.  Maintain campfire flames at knee height (about 2 feet high). A smaller flame helps prevent ash and embers from rising into the trees or dry vegetation. If you see the wind stirring up embers, play it safe and put the fire out.
  2. Only build campfires in the existing fire ring in your campsite. Fire rings are placed in areas with buffer zones and away from vegetation.
  3. Always keep plenty of water on hand to safely put out the campfire. Douse the flames with water and stir the embers to make sure everything is wet. The stirring step is important: ash and wood debris often maintain heat.
  4. Beach campfires should be on open sand and away from driftwood or vegetation. Slowly pour water on your beach fire to put it out. Pouring water too quickly can cause hot sand to fly. Don’t use sand to put out a beach fire. Covering the fire with sand will insulate the coals, keeping them hot enough to burn someone hours or even days later.
  5. For propane fire rings, follow the same safety precautions you would with a log-based campfire. The use of propane fire rings may vary depending on local conditions.
  6.  Make sure everyone in your campsite is familiar with campfire safety, including children. Always keep an eye on your campfire; many accidental fires are started because campers left their fire unattended for “just a minute.”

Now these are just the basics when it comes to campfire safety, but by following them we can make sure to prevent wildfires and keep everyone safe this summer.

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