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How to stay safe around the campfire

Camping is a fun activity for all ages, and many groups such as Scouts and Brownies take children and young adults on camping trips. But did you know that campfires are the leading cause of injury when camping and also the main cause of forest fires? So how do you stay safe around the campfire?

Preparing your fire

Preparation is key when it comes to building a campfire. You should prepare the site properly and should not set up a campfire if the weather is windy. Your campfire should be set up away from debris that could burn such as trees, bushes or overhanging branches and also well away from power lines. Campfires should be kept in a contained area such as a small pit surrounded with rocks, a burn barrel or BBQ unit, for the safest possible campfire. You should only use wood and never flammable liquids such as gasoline to light a campfire!

Safety around the campfire

The following tips will help you to stay safe around the campfire:

  • Always douse your match with water after lighting the campfire, before disposing of it
  • Don’t allow children or pets to play unsupervised near the campfire
  • Teach children about fire safety and how to ‘stop, drop and roll’ if their clothing catches fire
  • You should have a fire extinguisher and plenty of water on hand in case of emergency
  • Don’t leave the campfire unattended, even for short periods of time
  • Douse your fire with plenty of water when it needs to be extinguished
  • Ensure children wear gloves near the fire – for example if toasting marshmallows

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure that everyone stays safe when camping.

Accidents caused by campfires

Fire can quickly spread if left unattended, particularly in windy conditions. Burns are the most common type of injury to be sustained – clothing or hair could catch fire or fire could be caused by debris burning. Scalds are also possible if you are heating liquid on the camp fire, and children should always be supervised. It is also possible to sustain other minor injuries such as cuts and splinters from handling wood, so gloves should be worn.

Have you been injured by a campfire?

If you or your child has been injured whilst camping, and believe that your accident was someone else’s fault – for example if your child was poorly supervised whilst playing near a campfire on an educational trip – then you should call Accident Advice Helpline. We can help you with your claim for personal injury compensation, and our lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis.