With wildfires going rampant after a wet winter, it is more important than ever to be mindful of our actions when camping, traveling and spending time outdoors. We would not be able to fight these fire without the help of the Wildland Firefighters. According to the National Park Service,
“Nearly 85 percent* of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson.”
That 85% can be dramatically improved upon by simply changing our habits and becoming more aware when we are camping or enjoying the outdoors. Even though it might not be you who starts a fire, you can help prevent one as well by watching other people and continuing to educate those around you. With the support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and Protect Our West by Coors Banquet, Cowboy Lifestyle Network would like to provide you with some useful tips that you can keep in the mind for your summer travels.
Check Your Chains
One of the leading causes of brush and wildfires are chains dragging when you are pulling a trailer. By doing a once over check before you take off could prevent a brush or wildfire. If you want to be extra proactive, check your chains at every stop and do a walk-around your rig to make sure there isn’t anything overheating.
Follow a Camp Fire Protocol
We all know that camping isn’t the same without a campfire, but sometimes we have to take one for the forest because one spark is all it takes. It’s important that you know before you go if you are even allowed to have a campfire. If you are allowed to have a campfire, we encourage you to follow a campfire protocol to make sure you’re doing your part to prevent wildfires.
The first thing is you need to pick the right spot. Do this by making sure you clear a 10ft radius around your fire pit of any flammable debris such as brush, twigs, and leaves. Second, make sure your pit is properly dug out, Smokey recommends about a foot deep, then circle your pit with rocks. Next, it’s time to build your fire! Once your fire is built and burning, make sure to never leave it unattended and when it is time to extinguish it, make sure to follow these steps:
- If you can, allow all the wood to burn be burned to ashes. Wood harbors heat that could re-ignite your fire after going to bed.
- Next, you will want to DROWN it in water. The general rule is that you keep pouring water on it until it stops hissing.
- If you are limited on water, use sand or clean dirt that is free of debris and bury the embers.
- Make sure everything is cool to the touch before you leave the area.
Plan Your Backyard Fire Burn Accordingly
It can be popular, depending on where you live, to do backyard burns. Some people use it to get rid of their trash (we don’t endorse this) or just simply to burn up some of the weeds that have been growing like crazy because of all the moisture. Regardless of the reason, you should take extreme precaution when doing a backyard burn. Here are some of the tips from Smokey the Bear,
- Check the conditions – Don’t burn when it’s windy or when vegetation is very dry.
- Check local regulations – In your area, a permit may be required to burn and notify your local fire department.
- Burn this, not that – You can burn dry, natural vegetation, grown on the property unless prohibited by local ordinances. Household trash, plastic or tires are not good to burn and are illegal to burn in some areas. Check your local ordinances.
- Prepare your pile – Keep your piles small and manageable. Add additional debris as the fire burns down.
Educate, Educate, Educate
You can absolutely do your part in the prevention of wildfires even if you don’t camp or travel very much. You can help others by sharing information that you read and any wildfire updates in your area. There are so many resources available these days that everyone should be educated on fire safety and awareness. The last thing we need is wildland firemen putting their lives on the line because someone wasn’t aware or educated enough to prevent an incident. Take a look at Protect the West and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is doing to do their part.
Use Common Sense
The most important thing to remember for everyone is to use common sense. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, you probably shouldn’t do it. If there is a fire ban, please DON’T have a fire. Please don’t throw cigarette butts out the window. There are so many things that we could be doing to prevent wildfires and all it takes is a little common sense on our end and learning what we can do to help others. You can also do your part by buying a case of Coors Banquet, part of the money earned from Coors Banquet beer goes right back to helping these firemen do what they do best.
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