Special Feature

Bonfire Safety

Small bonfire in the woods

Many people enjoy the warmer months by gathering with friends around a fire or toasting marshmallows with their families. If you’re planning on enjoying a bonfire this summer, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Before starting a fire, check your city’s ordinances. You may need permission or a permit, depending on your location.

  • Do not start fires under windy or dry conditions.

  • Build the fire in an open area away from trees, houses, fences, trash, overhead cables, and tents.

  • Note the position of the wind before starting the fire. Flying sparks can cause injury or ignite something unintended.

  • Only burn dry wood; do not burn wet materials, painted items, furniture, or aerosols/canisters. Wet materials can cause excessive smoke; painted items often release hazardous fumes into the air; items such as furniture can cause large flames; and aerosols/canisters can explode.

  • Do not use accelerants to light the fire. Lighter fluid or gasoline can cause serious burns and out-of-control flames.

  • Keep the size of your fire reasonable. A large fire can quickly get out of hand.

  • Keep a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby for emergencies.

  • Never leave the fire unattended.

  • Be conscientious of alcohol consumption.

  • Keep children and pets away from the fire.

  • Extinguish the fire properly. Do not just let the flames burn out; soak the embers completely with water.