Rural Camping: Easy Ways to be Prepared and Prevent Fires
When it comes to camping or any outdoor adventure, safety is a priority, especially if you’re someone like me who likes camping in rural areas. Rural camping is a get way to get in touch with nature and forget about work and cell phones since they don’t work! Trust me, I’ve tried, and having no internet access or reception forces you to relax, which is why I usually go in the first place. Of course, the more rural you go, the more isolated from the world you become, which can be dangerous. If you do go rural camping be sure you are prepared and know how to prevent forest fires – this is every campers responsibility.
What to Prepare for Rural Camping Before you go
- Tell someone where you’re going. This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a safe trip. If you’re not exactly sure where you’re going, give at least a general idea with major highways/streets or GPS coordinates, and provide a timeline of your return. In the event you get lost in the woods, people will come looking for you. If you don’t tell anyone, how will they know where to look?
- Get a permit if required in the area you plan to visit. The last thing you want is to locate a pristine destination away from the world, only to be spotted by a ranger and get ticketed, and those tickets are pricy and will definitely dampen your experience.
- Pack extra water and food. The more rural you go, the longer it will take you to get back to civilization so be prepared to avoid a shortage. Sometimes we forget how much water we actually use outside of drinking it, like washing our hands, cleaning a skillet, brushing our teeth, etc.
- Remember a first aid kit! Accidents can happen at any time, and if they do occur, we need to be prepared.
- Don’t forget bug repellant and flash lights. Bug activity can be high in rural areas and being covered in bites doesn’t exactly equate to a relaxing trip. Flash lights are also a must to see clearly at night and prevent falls.
When we camp in nature, we want to keep it serene, leaving no trace of activity, but one thing most people love about camping, regardless if you camp in the rural woods or at a designated campground, are fires. Adults and children alike love sitting around fires at night, perhaps telling scary stories or just relaxing and socializing.
Out in the woods, even with a permit, fires may not be allowed, and for good reason. If you’re in a rural area and start a fire that gets out of hand, who will be there to stop it? No one! I don’t know about you, but if I’m in the woods all alone or with a few friends or family members, the last thing I want to be near is an out of control fire. If you do decide to build a campfire please be responsible for it. There are some important things to remember in order to prevent your campfire from becoming out of control.
Preventing a Forest Fire
- Find an open space at least 30 feet away from brush and anything flammable.
- Keep your campfire spot away from trees, bushes and hanging branches as sparks can come off the fire and catch fire nearby.
- Create a circle of stones to contain your campfire (ensure stones are not placed too compact as you want air to pass through to fuel fire).
- NEVER leave your campfire unattended.
- NEVER leave your campfire burning through the night as you sleep.
- Ensure you COMPLETELY put out your campfire before leaving it, either with water or with sand. Be aware that hot embers may still burn even though you toss sand over them – you must completely smother the fire out.
The Portable Campfire
For me, a camping trip without a fire is just disappointing, but making a homemade fire can ruin the pristine nature you wanted in the first place and endanger your own life and the lives of others. During a study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) from 2004 to 2008, on average, 976 brush, grass or forest fires were reported each day.
Homemade fires can be dangerous if they aren’t monitored closely and they are destructive to nature, but most of us still want them, don’t we? Fire safety is imperative, so I use a portable propane fire pit for camping. It’s literally a fire in a can and most permits allow these in the wild, except in cases of a fire ban. Generally this happens in extreme heat or dry conditions when wildfires are at high risk of occurring, but if there is no ban, you can still roast those marshmallows, have the warm campfire experience, be safe, and know you aren’t endangering yourself or the environment around you.
In the words of Jackie Stewart, “It takes leadership to improve safety” so let’s be leaders together. Using these safety trip reminders and fire prevention methods, we can have that relaxing and fun trip we all need.
This is a guest post by Karen Ho Fatt, Karen is an outdoor enthusiast who lives in the Rockies. She enjoys long day hikes, weekends of camping and entertaining company around her big sky ring stars and moon cast iron pit for backyard barbecuing. As long as Karen is in the fresh air, she is up for just about anything.
Author: Karen Ho Fatt
Edited By: CampTrip.com