Bonfires are great for evening camps where you and your friends or family gather around the warm fire and toast s’mores or marshmallows. Bonfires are also excellent for outdoor bondings and relaxation around the fire, especially at night. Many of us can appreciate the warmth bonfires can give to us, but care should be taken when we start one. Summer can be a hot and dry season where leaves, grasses, and twigs can easily catch fire.
Australia has a mainly arid climate, where days are usually very hot and dry. We have seen the dangers caused by bushfires in the country, which is why we are sharing here some dos and don’ts in making a bonfire in the land down under.
Do Start a Bonfire Away from Other Combustibles
The location and setup of a bonfire are crucial to a safe and enjoyable experience. Set up your bonfire at a safe distance away from structures. If you set up an open bonfire, make sure that there are no other combustible materials nearby, such as dry leaves, twigs, or branches. As a precaution, keep the area around the bonfire wet before igniting it. Craftsmen from MAX Fire Pits recommend that you bring a custom fire pit for bonfires or create a makeshift one to contain the fire and reduce fire hazards. The Australian outback can have extreme temperature shifts from daytime to nighttime, and dry bushes and shrubs are another reason why you should contain the bonfire as much as possible.
Don’t Start Large Bonfires
Leave the large bonfires to festivals and community celebrations. If you are camping with friends or family, a small and controllable bonfire should suffice. Keep the flames low, and do not fan the fire to avoid sparks and embers flying onto the surrounding dry vegetation. High flames can also reach low-lying tree branches, so make sure to keep your woodpile low.
Do Keep Water or Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Always have water or a fire extinguisher on standby whenever you are starting a bonfire outdoors. They are used for controlling or putting out the fire when it’s time to sleep or you do not need the fire anymore. Having a fire extinguisher, water, or an improvised flame retardant nearby can also help you keep the fire under control and react immediately during bonfire-related accidents or emergencies.
Don’t Use Flammable Liquids to Start a Fire
Never start a bonfire using kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid, or any flammable liquid. Although these liquids can make starting a fire a lot easier, they also raise the risk of fire accidents. These liquids are highly volatile and can catch fire if their containers are not stored or disposed of properly. Rather than risk fire accidents and burns, start your bonfire using traditional fire-building methods such as using matchsticks.
Do-Follow Fire Restrictions and Guidelines
Australia has strict rules and regulations when it comes to outdoor fires, especially during Fire Danger Sean and Total Fire Ban days. Make sure to check with the municipality or local council that has jurisdiction over your bonfire area on the fire restrictions and possible fire permits needed. You’ll also need to check other applicable restrictions and guidelines if your bonfire schedule falls outside of these critical days. Being informed beforehand can help you take precautions and care in starting a bonfire.
Staying close to a bonfire with your family or friends is a wonderful experience no matter where you are in the world. Australia is just as amazing as any place to celebrate family and friendship through warm outdoor gatherings around a bonfire. As long as you take proper precautions and care in starting a bonfire, you’ll have a fun outdoor experience wherever you may be.