Monday, June 18, 2018

Hosting a Bonfire

Everyone loves a good bonfire, but when it comes to planning one yourself, there are some things you shouldn’t overlook. If you’re ready to spend a summer night outside with your friends, here are four things to plan for your bonfire.

Before inviting everyone over, make sure your location can legally host fires and has a place indicated to light a fire in. The bigger the fire you plan to have, the larger the space you will need.

You will want to look at not only the ground surrounding the fire site but the rest of the clearing. Be sure to remove any flammable plants or kindling that could allow the fire to escape. And don’t forget to check out any close trees or bushes that could be hanging over the site of the fire that could be endangered.

You should also check the weather forecast and fire danger ratings in the area. A rainy forecast will make for a cold, wet evening, while gusty winds could potentially prevent a fire from being lit or catapult it into an unsafe area. If it’s the middle of the dry season and the fire danger rating is high, follow the Forest Service recommendations.

There are many different types of fire pits you might encounter. If you’re at a campground that provides a fire pit, inspect it to make sure your fire will be contained.

Places that are best to house a fire will be level dirt areas cleared of foliage. Fire pits may be pre-installed stone or steel structures, but you can also create a pit for your fire by finding and arranging several large stones in a tight circle.

Firewood and Firestarters
To get a good burning fire, make sure your firewood is dry. Not sure where to get it? Don’t assume that you will find what you need at your bonfire location.

You can easily pick up several logs that are ready for use at your local home improvement store. Places like Walmart and even convenience stores may sell firewood as well, especially if you’re in a place where people spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Be careful about burning wood pallets as some have been treated with or exposed to chemicals.

Firestarters can also be purchased at these locations, or you can bring things like lint and a toilet paper roll or dry grass and tree bark.

Putting it Out
When starting any kind of fire, you should always have a plan for how to put it out when the time comes to leave. Let the fire burn down, all the way to ash if you can, then pour water over the whole thing. The US Forest Service recommends first drowning the fire with water, then stirring the embers until they are thoroughly wet.

If there’s no water available in the area and you’ve forgotten to bring your own, don’t start your bonfire until you’ve acquired some.

Extra Fun
Now that all the safety measures are in place, stock up on snacks to roast in the fire. You may want to have everyone bring a blanket and their favorite camp chair to keep comfortable. And whether you bring games or music, you’ll be able to talk and laugh the night away in the firelight.

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