Camping, Bon Fires, and Fire Season

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S’mores, bonfires, hot dogs, and warm weather is what people look forward to every summer. People enjoy camping because it gives them relief from the demands of everyday life, a respite from technology, and allows them to reconnect with family and nature.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, this year’s fire season is predicted to be another severe one. The West Coast is facing drought and drier summers that could lead to devastating fires. "Fire danger is a function of not only the weather, but the conditions of the fuel and the most important thing about the fuels is their moisture content," said Craig Clements, a professor and director of the Wildland Interdisciplinary Research Center at San Jose State University. 

With the combination of fewer new shrubs growing, low rainfall, and minimal plant growth in the spring, it's predicted that the upcoming wildfire season could top 2020, where over 10.1 million acres burned.

People are causing Wildfires in the U.S.

Nearly 60 percent of wildland fires in national parks in the United States are caused by campfires left unattended, negligence, or an accidental act.

People cause the vast majority of wildfires, and it’s extending the fire season around the country by three months, NPR shares.

The U.S. Department of the Interior shares the top human causes of wildfires, with campfires ranking as the second leading cause.

Fires caused by people are extreme, with twice as much traveling speed as a lightning-caused one. Human-caused fires exhibit more explosive growth in the first few days following ignition. The fast-spreading fire burns more intensely and kills double or triple the trees as slower naturally caused fires.

Campfire Safety Tips

With a roaring campfire comes big responsibilities. Consider these tips the next time you’re out camping:

  1. Check weather and drought conditions

  2. Build your campfire in an open location away from dry debris

  3. Stay with your fire

  4. Extinguish the fire completely

  5. Keep your vehicle off dry grass

  6. Avoid fire when it’s windy or restricted

While you’re enjoying a starry night, gooey s’mores, and a roaring fire this camping season, make sure to remember to properly and safely turn the campfire out. Our forest health depends on you.

Current U.S. Wildfire Activity

Track fires by using the Fire, Weather, and Avalanche Center (FWAC) site. FWAC is a non-profit organization that provides user-friendly weather-related products, services, and information to the public, emphasizing wildfire tracking.

The FWAC website provides valuable information to backcountry recreationists and the general public. FWAC’s website offers multiple essential tools to help combat Mother Nature; the Wildfire Map, the Weather Dashboard, and information on lighting strikes and air quality.

For more information, visit their website

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