Fire Safety and Camping

Enjoying the beauty of our Waterside communities safely

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Camping is a favorite pastime for locals and tourists alike in Washington and B.C., but the recent heatwave may have you wondering about how to camp safely amid burn bans during a high-risk fire season.

Pacific Northwest summers are beautiful and so far, swimsuit season 2021 is no exception. Beautiful as it has been though, this summer has been extremely hot, and we’ve just barely punched into July. Fire safety is no joke, so let’s go over some resources to keep our Waterside communities safe while we camp this year.

Check for Burn Bans

Different counties and even different areas within counties all have different burn bans in effect at different times. Burn bans are always subject to change, so make sure that you are always checking for updates before you head out to your campsite. The Department of Ecology has a list of fire safety burn bans in Washington so that you can find updated information about your destination easily. British Colombia also has an updated list of current burn restrictions.  Some areas have stricter burn bans than others, so make sure you are looking at the regulations for your area and taking the recommended precautions with your flames.

Safe Extinguishing

If campfires are allowed at your camping haven, make sure that you are maintaining and extinguishing your fire safely. The Smokey Bear website has a helpful step-by-step guide for how to keep your fire contained and how to extinguish your fire properly. Make sure not to let fires grow too large, always have plenty of water at the ready, and never leave a campfire unattended.  

Fire Alternatives

Besides the nostalgia of the smell of campfire smoke, campfires serve three functional purposes: light, heat and meal preparation. If you need to go fire-free to comply with the burn ban in effect at your favorite camping destination, make sure you come prepared. For cooking purposes, check out a retailer like LFS Marine in Bellingham for a propane stove or butane burner. Lighting can be covered by a few solar-powered lanterns or rechargeable camping string lights. Luckily, this summer has been so warm that a few extra layers of clothing and a quality sleeping bag can keep you toasty through the night, but there are also propane heaters if you’re planning to go somewhere with more severe temperature drops in the evening.

Don’t let burn bans stop you from getting in touch with nature this summer. Between basic fire safety and alternatives to open flames, we can all enjoy the camping season in our Waterside communities without starting any accidental wildfires. Kids will remember the s’mores, not the propane stove they toasted the marshmallows over, so let’s keep our environment safe while making lasting memories this year!

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