5 min read

Bonfire Safety Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Enjoying the great outdoors means warmth, camaraderie, and relaxation while gathering around a bonfire. If you’ve ever gone camping or hosted an outdoor get-together in your home’s backyard, activities you and others do around campfires are always a fun event. 

However captivating a bonfire may be, practicing proper bonfire safety ensures an enjoyable and hazard-free experience for everyone. In this guide to bonfire safety, let’s explore the correct practices for setting up a bonfire, precautions to take, and how to prevent fires, injuries, or environmental harm. 

Building a Bonfire

Bonfire safety starts with where and how you set up your bonfire. If you’re camping, find or make a clearing where you can build a fire without the risk of spreading to plants, trees, and other combustible organic materials. For those at home, try to find a spot away from your house. Follow these steps before setting anything on fire:

  • Choose Your Location: If you don’t have a firepit and must make a bonfire from scratch, your bonfire should be at least 10 feet away from any structures and flammable materials. If you’re setting up your campsite, set up your tents at least 12 to 20 feet away from your fire to avoid fire and smoke from reaching your tents.
  • Check the Weather: Extremely windy and dry conditions can result in various safety hazards.
  • Have Water or Extinguishers Ready: Having something to douse the fire in an emergency can be very important. This can be a bucket of water, a garden hose, a fire extinguisher, or dirt and sand to extinguish the flames.
  • Accelerants and Flammables: Avoid creating fires with accelerants like aerosols and pressurized containers or starting fires with aluminum cans. This can lead to explosions or release harmful fumes.
  • Use Dry Kindling: Leaves are a popular material to add to start a fire. However, we recommend using dry leaves only. Wet leaves usually produce more smoke, hindering visibility and making it more difficult to control your fire. Avoid burning plastics and other substances that can release harmful fumes. 

Handling a Bonfire

Your bonfire is likely to stay afire while the festivities are going on. However, improper care can lead to burns and injuries to your eyes and skin. Some practices to keep in mind while the bonfire is lit:

  • Maintain Supervision: Never leave a bonfire unattended. If you’re in charge of tending to the bonfire, avoid drinking alcohol to ensure you are mentally focused and avoid getting clumsy with handling flammable materials.
  • Flammable Materials: Keep combustible materials, such as paper, cardboard, dried leaves, and other debris, away from the bonfire. This will prevent the fire from spreading unintentionally.
  • Supervise the Area: If there are children or pets, ensure they cannot touch or get too close to the fire. If you are having a loud party involving fireworks, it’s best to keep your pet indoors to avoid anxiety or the risk of your pet running around the area. 

Putting Out a Bonfire

After the night’s festivities, there are various ways to ensure you’ve safely put out the fire. Whether you’re at home or anywhere else outdoors, follow these steps to protect yourself, those in the area, and the environment:

  • Let the Fire Burn Down: Extinguishing the fire while it’s still producing large flames can have several hazards. Instead, let the fire burn down eventually. Clear the area of flammable materials and use a fire poker or shovel to separate the materials in the bonfire. This can create gaps that make it easier for the fire to go out.
  • Pour Water: Using a bucket or hose, slowly pour water over the fire. To ensure all the embers are soaked, start by wetting the outer edges of the bonfire and make your way towards the middle of the fire. Add water until there’s no visible fire and the sizzling sounds from the embers have stopped. Avoid pouring water too fast, as this can produce steam that can burn your hand.
  • Stir the Ashes: To ensure all sides of the embers are extinguished, use your fire poker or shovel to mix the ashes. This spreads the heat away and ensures there are no lingering hotspots.
  • Dispose of the Ashes: If you’re at home, collect the ashes and debris, and after the fire pit has cooled down, dispose properly. You can safely put wood ashes in your compost bin. 

Fire and Smoke Damage on Your Property? Call Restoration 1 of Cary

Having a bonfire at home can be a fun and memorable experience for your family and friends, but remember the hazards of improper fire handling. When mishandled, the fire and smoke from your bonfire can spread to other parts of your home and cause lasting damage to its appearance and structure. If this happens, Restoration 1 of Cary can help.

Our team of certified technicians delivers fire restoration services that assess the damage and conduct the necessary steps to restore your property to its pre-fire state. Contact (847) 350-7795 to get in touch with Restoration 1 of Cary.