Camping With Wildfires – How To Stay Safe When Boondocking During Wildfire Season
What Are Wildfires?
- Wildfires are a natural disaster that can cause extensive damage to both lives and property.
- They occur when the environment provides the right combination of heat, wind, and fuel.
Camping With Wildfires: The most common cause of wildfires is humans. Campfires account for a large portion of these fires, and in fact, 60 percent of all wildfires in the United States are caused by people.
Campfires spread much more quickly than lightning-caused fires. In fact, they have twice as much speed as a fire caused by lightning.
What should you do if you encounter a wildfire?
If you are caught in a wildfire, do not panic. Try to stay calm and think clearly. Here is what you should do:
- Follow the instructions of firefighters and other emergency personnel.
- Keep an eye on your surroundings and be prepared to take action if necessary.
- If you are asked to evacuated from your campground, leave immediately. Do not try to pack up or take anything with you.
- If you are boondocking, leave the area immediately. Do not try to pack up or take anything with you.
Follow the instructions of local authorities. Local authorities issue daily updates on air quality.
- Air quality can be good or hazardous during wildfire season. Although wildfires can be devastating, people who are sensitive to smoke should avoid areas where there is a wildfire. The elderly and pregnant women may have more breathing problems from the pollution of wildfires. People with asthma or respiratory infection may also be impacted by poor air quality from fire smoke.
- If you have a lung disease, consult your doctor about how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.
- If you are prescribed medication for a lung condition such as asthma or COPD, you may need to adjust your medication dosage or schedule.
- If you have a lung disease, avoid strenuous exercise in smoky areas and do not exert yourself if you are experiencing chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath.
- If you have a lung disease and are near smoke from wildfires, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration . Drink at least two quarts of water per day.
- If you have a lung disease and are near smoke from wildfires, avoid exposure to irritants such as secondhand tobacco smoke or exhaust fumes from cars
What Causes Wildfires?
There are three components necessary for a fire to start: fuel, air and heat. The fuel can be anything from discarded cigarettes to campfires. Heat is created by the sun or lightning strikes that ignite a fire, and air is needed for fire ignition and sustained burning.
Fuel, weather and topography are all factors which can cause a wildfire to spread quickly or die down. Sometimes a wildfire will start with low moisture content and may burn quickly. The composition of fuel can influence how quickly a fire spreads, at what temperature and in what area it burns. The size and amount of fuel are both factors in the fire. Fire behavior always follows the same pattern, but depends on fuel type and size: small fuels burn quickly, large fuels generate more heat and burn slowly.
How Do Wildfires Start?
Wildfires can start in a number of ways. The most common way is from a spark, which might come from a vehicle breaking down while in motion. Other causes include campfires that are not properly put out, cigarettes thrown out of car windows, and sparks from ATVs or dirt bikes.
Spark arrestors help prevent wildfires caused by cars and dirt bikes, which have exhaust systems that create sparks and embers by accident. You should check your ATV, dirt bike, or other vehicles for spark arrestors to reduce the risk of starting a fire.
How to Prevent Wildfires
Wildfires can be devastating and destructive. However, there are things you can do to help prevent them.
One way to prevent wildfires is by managing your campfire properly. Make sure that you have a bucket of water or sand nearby to extinguish the fire when you’re finished using it. Remember to never leave a campfire unattended – not even for a minute!
Another way to prevent wildfires is by learning about the status of trails near where you’re camping, and avoiding them if they are closed or on fire related restrictions. Rangers are great resources for information about wildfire activity in an area, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions if you’re unsure about anything.
Hiking trails may also be closed if a fire threatens them – it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to any signage that might be present.
Recreational activities like boating, paddling, hunting and fishing can also spread wildfires – please remember these activities come with inherent risks when visiting areas affected by drought conditions. Be sure to know and follow all applicable regulations related to fires when engaging in these activities.
What Are the Dangers of Camping Near a Wildfire?
Check for fire restrictions before camping
Before you go camping, it’s important to check for fire restrictions in the area. Fires can easily get out of control, and if there are restrictions in place, it’s important to follow them. You don’t want to risk starting a fire that could endanger people, property, or wildlife.
You can find out about fire restrictions by contacting your local governing entity (such as the park service or forestry department). They will be able to tell you what is and isn’t allowed from a fire hazard standpoint.
In addition, active fire maps are available online. These maps can help travelers plan their trip more accurately and safely, given that some of the restrictions on wildfires change often.
It’s also important to know where fires are burning so you can choose a safer area to camp in. You can do this by checking the Air Quality Index before you leave home. The Air Quality Index will tell you how bad the air quality is in your area and whether it’s safe to be outdoors.
Be prepared for evacuation orders if camping near fires (even if you’re not close to any flames). Make sure you have all of your essential belongings with you so that you can leave quickly if necessary.
Camping outside during the high fire danger season can lead to serious health risks. Make sure you’re aware of the risks before you go, and research early so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Fire Apps I Use to Check on Wildfires
Website: Fire, Weather, and Avalanche Center
iOS and Android apps
iOS – Fire Finder â€” Wildfire Info ($.99)
Android: Fire, Weather & Avalanche Center
Follow Leave No Trace principles
Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s important to do so responsibly. Leave No Trace principles can help make your camping trip more enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some tips:
- Plan ahead and prepare for the area you are going to camp in. Know what is allowed and what is not.
- Be sure your fire is extinguished before leaving the area – use water, not dirt, to put out your fire.
- Don’t use a campfire during periods of high fire danger, even if there are no restrictions from government agencies or local communities. Campfires are common and should be done in designated areas, away from grasses and other items that may catch fire.
- Pack out all trash and food waste. Don’t leave anything behind!
- Respect wildlife and their habitats by keeping a safe distance away – remember they’re wild animals!
- Follow these simple guidelines to have an enjoyable camping trip while preserving the natural beauty of our forests and parks for future generations
Know your surroundings
Before you go camping near a wildfire, be sure to check with the governing entity. They will have all the most up-to-date information on road closures and cautions in the area. Remember, your safety is always our top priority.
Camping near a wildfire poses the risk of not being able to get out in time. So it’s important to always know your surroundings and heed all warnings from authorities.
Another danger of camping near a wildfire is that winds can change quickly and unexpectedly, which could cause the fire to spread rapidly.
And finally, campers should always have an emergency plan before going camping – so they are prepared for any situation that might arise while exploring the great outdoors.
Tips for Keeping Your Campsite Safe from Wildfire
Campfires are the number one cause of wildfires in the United States, so it’s important to take some precautions when camping during wildfire season. Here are a few tips for keeping your campsite safe:
- Turn the campfire out completely before leaving your campsite
- Stay with your fire, and avoid it when windy or restricted
- Check weather and drought conditions before lighting a fire to avoid a wildfire in your back yard
- Wildfires are unpredictable and can be deadly. Be sure to heed any warnings or evacuation orders from authorities, and be prepared to leave your campsite at a moment’s notice.
Most wildfires start as human-caused fires, so always use caution when building or tending to a fire. Avoid leaving ashes unattended, and make sure all embers are extinguished before leaving camp
Firefighters use a PITA acronym to make sure that you keep yourself and your family safe from wildfires: P – Prepare, I – Inform, T – Tell Others, A – Avoid Poor Habitat and Animals
Use a proper fire extinguisher or monitor the area around your campsite for fires. Keep your campfire small and surrounded by dirt in order to reduce risks of wildfire.
There are a few things that you can do to make sure that you stay safe when camping with wildfires. The first is to be aware of the fire hazard in your area. You can find this information out by looking online or contacting your local fire department. Additionally, it’s important to have all of the necessary tools and apps to help you prepare for a wildfire. These include a weather app, a map app, and an emergency contact app.
In addition, there are some general safety tips that you should keep in mind when camping in a forested area during wildfire season. Make sure that you always know where the nearest exit is and keep track of the wind speed and direction at all times. And finally, remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Happy (and safe)Trails,