U.S. Forest Service Offers Memorial Day Weekend Campfire Safety Tips

Campgrounds will be filled with people this Memorial Day weekend enjoying campfires.

The U.S. Forest Service is asking people to keep a close eye on those fires. 

The start of camping season in northern Michigan means camp fires. The U.S. Forest Service says there are a number of things to keep in mind from building one.

“Once you strike away, you’re going to want to hold it underneath, and let your lighter fuels catch fire, then you would start feeding smaller stuff to the fire first and then continue to feed it,” said Debra-Ann Brabazon, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist.

The fire danger is expected to be low this weekend, but the wind could still carry a stray ember and lead to trouble.

“We still can have a wildfire, it can still burn, but when you’re in a campground, everyone is really close together, the ability to evacuate a campground in a small amount of time and because of the proximity you could be lighting someone else’s campsite on fire,” said Brabazon.

The Forest Service says to make sure the area around your fire ring is clear and keep your fire at a safe size as the s’mores roast away.

“Try to ration your wood, be reasonable, and anything that is burned make sure you use it to start your fire the next day. You never want to take any type of burned wood out of your camp fire and set it outside. You don’t know if it’s still warm of has the ability to rekindle,” said Brabazon.

And campfires must be completely put out before you go to bed or leave your campsite.

“So what you’re going to do is you’re going to pour it and you’re going to either work back and forth like a zig zag or around a circle into the center. If you keep it at a safe size, you still can enjoy the fire, you reduce your risk of spreading wildfire and you also ensure a safer environment,” said Brabazon.