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‘Drown, Stir and Feel’ Is the Right Way to Put Out a Campfire

The U.S. Forest Service says there are about 150 wildfires annually in the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

“Any campfire can potentially escape. You have to make sure that it is always dead out and cold to the touch,” explained Debra-Ann Brabazon, Public Affairs Officer for the Huron-Manistee National Forests. “If a wind were to pick up and blow leaf litter into your camp area and onto that fire, that fire can potentially ignite and lead to another fire.”

The Forest Service says there’s only one proper way to put a campfire: drown, stir and feel.


“When the fire is like a soupy mix of ash and charcoal and some of the debris in the bottom like mud and stopped cracking, popping, hissing and it’s cool to the touch, your fire is dead out. Then you can successfully leave your campground because, you know, you’ve done your due diligence to help prevent wildfires.

It’s illegal to leave a fire unattended on public land.

“We’ve come across two unattended fires this summer already. It’s a little bit of a nerve factor because you never know, and what if we weren’t there? What would have happened,” said Mary Peek, Wilderness Technician for the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

The U.S. Forest Service also wants to remind you to be mindful of where you set up camp.


“If we’re designated camping in a campground, usually you’ll see other people’s impact. We want to keep the impact in the same spot. We don’t want to create more and remove the vegetation around us, especially in designated campgrounds because we want to be a part of that beautiful aspect and see the beauty,” said Peek.

It’s about a $120 fine if you get caught leaving a campfire unattended, and they want to remind you not to bring firewood from another part of the state.

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