Stay safe this summer: Bonfire safety tips
One of the best things about a good, old-fashioned Canadian summer is sitting around a campfire, eating ooey-gooey s'mores and telling ghost stories and singing campfire songs. Among all of that revelry, however, are some pretty serious safety hazards, some of which you may not be as aware. Here, I'll give you the rundown of a few things to consider and some tips to keep everyone safe as they belt out another verse of "kumbaya."
Scope out a safe spot
If you have a cottage, you probably already have a dedicated bonfire area, but that doesn't mean the same location is safe year after year. Trees grow, wind direction changes, power lines are erected, etc. Before the first fire of the year, always check to make sure your bonfire pit is still in a safe spot.
Check the weather before you start
If the forecast is calling for windy conditions, it's probably not a good idea to have a bonfire. A strong breeze can very easily cause flames or even sparks to blow into nearby branches, brush, trees, grass -- or even people. It's not worth the potential disastrous results. Wait for a clear, still night.
Start the fire safely
Never, ever use an accelerant to start a fire such as gasoline or lighter fluid. These not only create dangerous fumes, but they can cause a fire to very quickly burn out of control. One of the best ways to start a fire safely, quickly, and conveniently is to use Enviro-Log Firestarters. Made from 100 percent recycled eco-friendly wax, they are an amazing alternative to kindling, ethanol gel starters, petroleum-based starter blocks and other types of fire starters.
With each firestarter "cup" you get:
20 minutes of burn time -- perfect for getting your fire going
Strong, consistent flames
A complete burn -- there's nothing left behind to clean up or dispose of
These are ideal for backpacking, camping, cottaging, tailgaing, fishing, and more. Easily portable and non-spill, Enviro-Log Firestarters are perfect for taking with you wherever your outdoor adventures take you!
Also available: Enviro-Log Firelogs. These are great for starting a fire either outside or in a wood-burning stove. These emit 30 percent less greenhouse gasses, 80 percent less carbon monoxide and 86 percent less creosote. They have an infinite shelf-life, are safe to cook over, and burn for hours! We used one in our wood-burning stove at the cottage and it kept us warm and toasty much longer than a traditional log would. And they are a much more environmentally responsible choice over using traditional logs. Very convenient and easy to use, too.
Have fire extinguishing equipment nearby
No one wants to think about their campfire getting out of hand, but the truth is, things happen. Don't wait for an emergency to search for your fire extinguishing equipment; keep it close by. This can be as simple as a garden hose or a bucket of water (although it's a good idea to fill the bucket just before you light the fire, because standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Better still, fill the bucket with sand. It will be just as effective and won't attract bugs).
Keep alcohol consumption under control
There's nothing wrong with enjoying an adult beverage or two around the campfire, but do so responsibility. Tipsy revelers and fire don't mix! When drinks are flowing, judgement can be impaired, so be a responsible host and be sure no one takes things too far.
Know the laws
Before you have a fire, know the bylaws for the area. Are there any rules that pertain to bonfires? Is there a burn ban in effect? Don't get into any unnecessary trouble by starting a fire when or where it's not allowed.