Mid-month last month, the New York Times covered the story of three California fires, which were blazing.  Still, there are fires out of control in the state, and that is a scary fact.  More than 1,000 buildings had been lost as of September because of the fires.  That is certainly a wake-up call for many people, and it should serve as a reminder for campers of the importance of fully extinguishing a campfire before going to bed or leaving the site.

If you are going camping this fall, be sure that you are prepared with the knowledge that you need to fully put out a fire, in a safe and effective manner.  There are three things that you must have on hand in order to extinguish it.

#1. Water This is likely the most obvious of the three, but it is amazing how many stories are told of people who sat around a campfire feeding wood over and over again, not realizing, until it was too late, that the blaze was getting out of control.  Many of them did not have water nearby, and that can lead to injuries, property loss, and much worse.  Always have water immediately on hand when sitting around an open fire.  When you are ready to put the flames out, pour the water liberally over the fire.

#2. A Shovel This is very handy for stoking the flames and moving burning embers about as the fire burns, but you will also want it for stirring up the drenched ashes after pouring water over the flames.

#3. Soil In order to ensure that all of the flames are out for good, you must cool the ashes and embers and deprive them of the oxygen that they need to reignite.  This can be done by mixing soil into the ashes.  When you have finished doing so, there should be no heat remaining.