Bonfire safety tips from BRCA

July 7, 2022


Summer is officially in full swing—which means getting out and enjoying the outdoors. A popular evening summer activity is building a bonfire to enjoy with family and friends—Here’s some bonfire safety tips to help keep you safe!

First, check your weather conditions. Never build a bonfire on a high-wind night. The wind can cause the fire to spread from its intended enclosure, or cause harm to bystanders.

Check your area. Your fire should be set up far away from wooded areas, structures, or powerlines. You should also avoid areas with dry grass, this is most prevalent in the fall and winter seasons.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s a good idea to wet the area around your bonfire with a hose or bucket of water, as a precautionary measure.

Collect decent sized dry wood—avoid any wood that’s painted or covered with a finish, as it can release dangerous and toxic chemicals. Avoid cedar and pine, as they can spark and pop, flinging ash and fire.

Group your collected wood by size—small, medium, and large.

There are several different materials you can use to start a fire—a crumpled piece of paper, an old egg carton, dryer lint, a toilet paper tube—really any dry, paper based small object will be a good fire starter.

Place your fire starter in the middle of your bonfire area. Using the small wood you’ve collected, you can build a house like structure around your fire starter, and a mountain above it. Then, using a long match or lighter, light your fires tarter in the middle.

Using accelerants like gasoline, lighter fluid, or alcohol may SEEM like a good idea to grow a fire, but these incredibly dangerous chemicals can cause the fire to quickly grow out of control and can lead to very serious burns.

It’s a better idea to instead build your fire up using progressively larger firewood, building in an outward circle around the fire.

Be careful not to overload or smother the fire—it still needs to be able to reach oxygen to burn.

Once you’ve got your fire good and going, make sure to keep a safe distance away from it. On average, you should be at LEAST two feet away from the fire at all times.

Everyone likes to have a good time around a bonfire. But being inebriated can make a safe situation turn dangerous quickly. Drinking can impair your ability to make quick and smart decisions and reduce your ability to judge distance– two very important skills to keep on hand near a fire.

Keep pets and children a safe distance away from the bonfire—YOU know fire is dangerous, they don’t.

Here’s some quick tips on what to do if you or someone else gets burned at a bonfire.

If your clothing ignites, immediately stop drop and roll.

Immediately remove any clothing or jewelry from the burned area.

Soothe the burn with cool water, and cover the area with a bandage or towel.