SPRINGFIELD – With the season for outdoor cooking and camping trips now here, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is encouraging campers to consider fire safety as a priority to ensure a safe and fun experience.
“Camping and other outdoor activities that involve building a fire should be enjoyable for the entire family. It’s important for campers to be aware of rules and regulations governing open fires. Everyone should use common sense and keep fire safety in mind when cooking or engaging in other activities that involve fire,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis.
Campers that fail to follow adequate fire safety measures can jeopardize the safety of themselves, their friends and loved ones. Lack of caution can also cause wild fires, brush fires, serious damage to natural resources and personal property. Fires should never be left unattended and campers should check with state parks, campsites and recreation areas for rules on cooking and campfires.
More than 200 uncontrolled campsite fires were reported in Illinois between 2005 and 2012. Many of those fires could have been prevented if proper safety procedures were followed.
The following is a list of additional fire safety tips for campers:
• Be familiar with the campsite rules on campfires or grilling. If a fire ring is not available, select a site a safe distance away from dry grass, trees and tents.
• Choose a site downwind from the sleeping area to prevent catching camping equipment or other combustibles on fire.
• Avoid building fires in dry or windy conditions. Campfires should be at least 15 feet away from tents walls, shrubs, or other flammable materials.
• Do not use gasoline or other petroleum based-liquids, as they can cause dangerous explosions.• Avoid using gel fuel pots, as the product may explode and can cause serious injuries.
• Keep your fire at a manageable size and always have a pail of sand or water nearby along with an extinguisher and a shovel in case they are needed to control a fire.
• Never leave a grill or a campfire unattended. Keep children at least three feet away from grills or campfires. Keep matches and lighters away from children.
• Make sure that grilling areas and campfires are completely extinguished before going to bed.
For more information on campground fire safety, please visit www.sfm.illinois.gov or www.fire.ca.gov