Fire Safety and Information
- Know Before You Go (Always check with the federal, county, local fire agency to see what restrictions are in place).
- Fire restrictions are used to restrict certain activities on varying land ownerships during periods of extreme fire risks and hazards. Fire restrictions have various levels called stages. Each stage limits certain activities that can be done and vary between agencies.
- Generally, the Fire Restriction Stages are:
o Stage I. Restrict certain activities to an area (for example no open fires unless in a manufactured campfire grate).
o Stage II. Restrict certain activities that can be done (for example no campfires).
o Stage III. Closure of areas where activities take place.
Building and Putting Out a Campfire:
- Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fires.
- Keep plenty of water handy and have a shovel for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
- Start with dry twigs and small sticks. Add larger sticks as the fire builds up.
- Put the largest pieces of wood on last, pointing them toward the center of the fire, and gradually push them into the flames.
- Keep the campfire small. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks gives plenty of heat. Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10-foot-diameter circle. This will keep a small campfire from spreading.
- Be sure your match is out. Hold it until it is cold. Break it so that you can feel the charred portion before discarding it. Make sure it is cold out.
- Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.
- Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks around to check for burning embers underneath.
- Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. Use dirt if you do not have water. 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 because they can smolder and break out.
- After using the burning charcoal briquettes, "dunk 'em!" - don't sprinkle. Soak the coals with lots of water, stir them and soak again. Be sure they are out cold! Carefully feel the coals with your bare hands to be sure.
- When smoking is permitted outdoors, safe practices require at least a 3-foot clearing around the smoker. Grind out your cigarette, cigar, or pipe tobacco in the dirt. Never grind it on a stump or log. Use your ashtray while in your car.
- When shooting a firearm use a safe backstop that does not have rocks. Bullets ricochet off rocks producing a spark and starts fires.
Lanterns, Stoves, and Heaters:
- Cool all lanterns, stoves, and heaters before refueling. Place them on the ground in a cleared area to fill them. If fuel spills, move the appliance to a new clearing before lighting it. Recap and store flammable liquid containers in a safe place. Never light lanterns and stoves inside a tent, trailer or camper. If you use a lantern or stove inside a tent or trailer be sure to have adequate ventilation. Always read and follow instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- All types of equipment and vehicles including chain saws, portable generators, cross-country vehicles, and trail bikes require spark arresters if used in or near grass, brush or a wooded area. To make sure that the spark arrester is functioning properly check with the dealer or contact your local Forest Service or State forestry office.
- Fireworks are illegal on all public lands. It is illegal to have them in possession, this means on your person or even in your vehicle.
- Always leave the forest cleaner than you found it. Be proud of your forest, it belongs to all of us.