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|More Camping Safety Tips...|
Camping Safety Tips: Camp Fires, Wild Animals, Dangerous
Camping provides a great temporary escape from the stresses and dangers
of suburban and urban life. However, the camping experience is fraught
with its own set of dangers.
The wise camper must take these into
account and prepare in advance how to make safety in the woods a high
priority and counter the inherent risks.
In part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at safety related to food
preparation, preparing clean drinking water, and how to minimize the
risk of illness from ticks.
In this second and final part, we will now turn our safety focus to
properly handling camp fires, avoidance of wild animals, and giving
caution due consideration while walking through any wooded areas.
For many people, the thought of sitting, talking, or singing around a
camp fire lies at the heart of the outdoor experience. No fire, no fun.
However, a fire handled improperly can lead to inadvertent disaster. So
safety is of the essence.
When starting, enjoying, and later putting out a fire, use common
For example, if you are camping when the weather has been dry for a
lengthy period of time, it would be safer to skip the camp fire
altogether. This issue itself may actually influence your decision on
selecting a time to camp.
Additionally, only build fires in camp ground provided areas, such as
fire rings. Otherwise, clear out a small area in your camping site, and
place rocks around a circle to set the parameters for your fire. Within
the circle, dig a hole several inches deep for the wood you will burn.
If you have not brought your own wood on the trip, gather wood that is
already dead and lying nearby. Make sure that any leaves close to the
fire pit are raked several yards away and that there are no paper
products lying on the ground. Throw those in the trash.
Once the fire is started, let it build slowly with smaller twigs and
dead branches, only placing larger pieces of wood on the pile as the
flame grows. Make sure small children remain several feet away from the
flame, as the heat can become intense while it grows. And they
certainly should not be close enough that they could slip or trip and
And finally, never leave a camp fire unattended. When leaving the area
(say for a walk) or going to sleep for the night, extinguish the
flames. Use a lot of water to douse the flames, saving your clean
drinking water when at all possible. Stir the ashes and use more water
until the remains are cool enough to the fingers.
Most people do not encounter wild animals when camping in the woods,
certainly not up close and personal. But that does not mean they are
not living in the habitat and posing a quiet danger to humans. It can
definitely be entertaining to spot them from a distance, not to mention
serving up great snapshot opportunities with a raccoon, deer, or even a
bear. However, in such a situation, distance between you and the animal
is one of your best friends.
Never (ever) attempt to feed an animal you encounter. It is not your
pet dog or cat and may attack! That is an instinctive response. Even if
you make no gestures that seem threatening, the animal may interpret it
If a wild animal approaches you, back away slowly and do nothing to
invite its approach.
Minimize your risk of an animal encounters in the first place by
wrapping all food securely and putting it away when you have finished
eating. Then throw away food-related trash in camp provided trash
There is nothing quite like a long, quiet walk in the woods. Remain on
paths that have been designed for walks. Use common sense.
As you can see, the camping experience is not a danger-free zone. The
great outdoors certainly provides compelling motivation to seek quiet
time with nature. But this activity cannot be done with reckless
abandon. In fact, making safety in the woods a habit actually assists
with maximizing the many positives of the camping experience.