Recent wildfires on Saddleworth Moor and Arthur's Seat show that fire can be a serious hazard, even in the cold months. We know that a campfire can be the highlight of a camping trip, but we also want you to keep yourself and the landscape safe. Our resident expert in all things tent-ish, Stuart Tobias-Reid - AKA the Kilted Camper - has put together a best-practice guide for those wanting to light it up outdoors.
- First check that the campsite allows fires (some don't for good reason). If you're free to flame, use the designated fire pits on site if they are available.
- Always plot your fire or stove on flat ground. It's a simple rule but crucial.
- When using a stove, clear away anything that could catch fire. Create a metre-wide circle around your stove and keep it free of clutter. If it is an open fire, double that to two meters.
- Even a small fire must be well-managed and observed. If you dig down a couple of inches this shallow 'bowl' will help lock the fire in place and prevent anything spreading. It will also help condense the heat for more efficient burning.
- If possible, build your fire close to a water source. This makes things easier when it comes to putting out your fire.
- When extinguishing the fire, wet the wider area where your stove to make sure there are no hidden embers left to cause trouble.
- Equally, don't just cover the flames with water and walk away. Break the fire apart and then drench it to make sure it has no chance of re-igniting when the wind picks up.
- Leave no trace, when the sun comes out even the smallest reflective item can concentrate sunlight onto dry grass or heather.
- Lastly, ask yourself if you really need a fire? There are so many small gadgets and gas fuelled stoves that cook your food much more quickly and efficiently, with less risk far less cleaning up needed.
So there you are; a simple guide to reducing the risk of an outdoor fire. Let's all do our bit to keep the outdoors looking good this year. As ever, happy camping.