Authored by Revere Health

Campfire Safety and Burn Prevention Tips

August 8, 2016 | AdministrationUrgent Care

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Being in the great outdoors with a crackling campfire, gooey s’mores and a sky full of stars is a favorite summer pastime. But when hanging out around the fire, proper campfire safety and burn prevention is of utmost importance.

Campfires are the nation’s leading cause of children’s camping injuries and the primary catalyst for damaging forest fires. So before heading out on your next camping trip, make sure to check out these burn and campfire safety tips.


Properly Building and Controlling a Campfire


  • Dig a pit on level ground away from overhanging branches. Pits should be on gravel or dirt,      never grass. (Most parks have campfire pits ready and waiting for you.)
  • Circle the pit with rocks or a metal fire ring to prevent the fire from getting too big.
  • Clear a 10-foot diameter around the pit down to the soil.
  • Keep a bucket of water, dirt or a shovel nearby to reduce flames if necessary.
  • Keep any flammable items including wood, aerosol cans and pressurized containers upwind and away from the fire.
  • After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended! Completely extinguish the fire before heading off to bed by throwing water or dirt on it. Stir the ashes and embers to ensure the coals are cooled and another fire won’t start.


Preventing and Treating Burns


Supervision is the best way to prevent your child from getting burned from a campfire, however, fire pits retain heat for up to 12 hours after being extinguished and most campfire burns are caused by leftover embers rather than flames.  Here are a few other tips to prevent and treat burns should a burn injury occur:

  • Be prepared with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
  • STOP, DROP AND ROLL if clothing catches fire.
  • Cool the burn with cool water. Avoid ice and cold water which can lower body temperature and cause further damage.
  • Remove clothing from the burned area. If it is stuck, leave it.
  • Cover the area with a clean, dry cloth, towel or bandage. Do not apply creams, ointments or other home remedies that can cause infection.
  • Seek medical attention if necessary.

While there are many ways to treat burns at home, you should call 911 in any of the following circumstances:

  • A burn penetrating all layers of the skin
  • Leathery or charred looking skin with white, brown or black patches
  • The burn blister is larger than two inches or oozes
  • The hands, feet, face or genitals are burned
  • The person is an infant or a senior

When waiting for emergency help to arrive, lay the person flat with their feet elevated about 12 inches and the burned area elevated above heart level to prevent shock. Be sure to also monitor pulse and breathing.

If you or a loved one is burned and notice increased pain, fever, swelling or blistering around the burn area, contact a doctor right away who can prescribe antibiotics and pain medications.


Our 12 Urgent Care locations throughout Utah provide affordable and convenient care for non life-threatening conditions including minor burns.



The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.