Be Responsible with your Warming Fire

Contact(s): Leona Rodreick

After the sun sets, temperatures drop and your outdoor survival instincts beckon for warmth. You build a small, tightly controlled warming fire that provides life-giving heat that lasts throughout the night. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest wants to remind you that vegetation is dry and wildfires can occur. Do your part to ensure that you do not start a wildfire.

Be responsible and incorporate these tips to have a safe and enjoyable fire:

Constructing your warming fire:

  • Clear away all leaves and other combustibles from your fire circle.
  • Do not build a fire underneath overhanging branches, against a stump, or directly on organic matter.
  • Stash your firewood a safe distance upwind of your fire.
  • Never leave your fire unattended.

Extinguishing your warming fire:

  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals and sticks are wet.
  • Stir the remains, add more water and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough soil or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled.
  • Feel all materials with your bare hand. Make sure that no roots are burning. Do not bury your coals.

If you used charcoal briquettes, "dunk ' em!" Don't sprinkle them around. Soak the coals with water; stir them and soak again. Be sure they are out cold. Carefully feel the coals with your bare hands to be sure they are cold to the touch.

Each fall firefighting crews respond to a number of fires started from unattended or uncontrolled campfires.  Campfire ignitions have already burned several hundred acres this fall, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.  Fire suppression costs can be extremely high and those at fault can be held liable.  Please be responsible and ensure your warming fires are controlled and completely extinguished. 

Be prepared and responsible.

We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused fires this season.