Thursday, March 25, 2010

Enjoy Your Camp Fire Safely

Camping and singing around a camp fire are long-standing and much-loved Girl Scout traditions. Just make sure you do it safely.

To start a fire, you must first:
  1. Have dry wood. Gather your firewood (where it is allowed) and have it divided up before you start:
    • Tinder: small pieces, bark etc
    • Kindling: larger sticks
    • Fuel: logs
  2. Have air. If a fire is smothered or too compact, it will not have air to burn.
  3. A fire ring or a BBQ pit or other safe area to have a fire. (Rocks in a fire may explode.)
  4. Matches and fire starters
  5. Fire Starters:
    • Cotton balls in Vaseline
    • Cotton balls in rubbing alcohol
    • Store bought fire starters
    • Pine heartwood (with sap)
    • Pine needles
    • Paper
    • Cardboard or paper egg cartons with sawdust and paraffin wax
    • Parts of old candles
  6. A bucket of water or a water hose and a shovel.
Styles of fire building:
  • Teepee: the twigs to logs are placed tilted up like a teepee.
  • Log Cabin: the fire is started in the middle of 6-8 logs alternating in a square like a log cabin.
  • Triangle: The fire is started in the middle of a triangle pointing at the direction of the wind. The flat side (not the point to the wind) is placed on top of the other two logs so that the air moves under the logs.
  • Place the fire starter first. Fire goes UP not DOWN.
  • Then put small twigs and bark. Light the fire starter.
  • Once it has started, slowly replace the twigs as they burn.
  • Never throw something into the fire. Lay twigs and sticks down gently.
  • When the fire is going well, add larger sticks until you work your way up to logs.
  • The fire goes out because of the wind. Use rocks, yourself, or other things away from the fire to block the wind.
  • The logs just smolder---the wood may be wet, or the logs are green
  • The fire keeps going out—it needs air. Use larger logs to prop up the burning logs. Open up what ever is blocking the air…the fire ring, the BBQ pit etc. if possible.
Safety Tips
  • Always have an adult assisting.
  • Know about fire bans and obey all restrictions.
  • Keep your hair and clothing away from the fire
  • Kneel down next to the fire
  • Don’t use wet/green wood that will POP
  • Don’t burn Christmas trees
  • Use a stick or fire place tools
  • Make the size of the fire dependent on what you are using it for
  • Don’t use paper or leaves if its windy
  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Put it out before you go to bed or leave the area or put dirt over and around it to save it for in the morning.
Fire Cleanup
  • Spread out the fire.
  • Put dirt on it by using the shovel
  • Sprinkle water, careful—it makes steam and ashes that can burn you and ashes may get on you
  • Stir it until it goes out. 
-Karen Stewart

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