Learn from our fiery past

California over the past 10 years has seen its share of wildfires.

While the worst one in recent memory was the Camp Fire that devastated the town of Paradise, California, — caused by neglected electrical infrastructure — many are caused by those camping whether in an established campground or dispersed camping away from more established lands.

The Lassen National Park Service and Forest Service have a few ways to stay smart and safe in regards to fire safety.

The Lassen National Park recommends using the metal fire rings whenever in established campsites, and in the park there is no fire allowed in the backcountry unless it’s a camp stove for cooking. In that case stay next to the stove and keep a close eye on it.

Greg Purifoy, of Lassen Volcanic National Park, said the biggest problem is people not properly putting out fires and being at best mediocre about how they douse the flames.
The Lassen National Park, and Forest Sevice recommend the drown, stir and feel method.

Drown the fire, so bring a five-gallon bucket or something large enough to fill with enough water to snuff out any flames, embers, or small coals. If you don’t have enough water you can use sand, but don’t bury the fire because it will continue to burn and return to the surface.

Stir the fire with a shovel or large sticks to spread the coals around, then feel and make sure there is no noticeable heat emanating from the fire pit.

If you’re out hiking or backpacking in the backcountry it is best to keep your head on a swivel and your nose in the air. If you smell smoke try to find where it’s coming from and evacuate immediately.

Being smart while handling your fires while camping can help prevent a disaster such as the Camp Fire and simply taking a little extra time to douse the flames, stir the coals and feel for heat will go a long way in preventing such disasters.