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In the midst of the California wildfire, it’s important to discuss all of the variables that caused what is known as the Camp Fire and some fire safety pointers for first-time campers. The Camp Fire has quickly become the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, so far measuring 200 square miles and destroying at a rate of 80 acres per minute.
According to an Outside Online article, the wildfire was most likely started due to downed power lines Thursday morning (November 8) and due to the zero-humidity conditions, the brush was so dry that they burst into flame immediately. These elements along with strong winds blowing the embers around made way for a terrible firestorm that has been growing since.
Almost the entire town of Paradise, California, was left destroyed in the wake of the Camp Fire, with many losing their homes, and many losing their lives. This fire has burned through 130,000 acres, but is becoming more contained by the day, as the firefighters are keeping the blaze away from populated areas, while the rest of the region is evacuated.
This fire has caused a disaster in the West, and even more shocking, is that when it began its path of destruction, it was burning alongside two other forest fires simultaneously, already raging in California. The conditions turned out to be more than perfect to hatch these fires, which get worse each year. It is possible that climate change has given cause to a more wildfire-prone landscape. A simple equation of rising temperatures, causing drier conditions in the West, therefore giving more way to fires. Whether this is a direct cause or not, there are ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve our natural ecosystems, whether they are in the forests of the West or elsewhere.
Although this fire was not caused by human error, it is still important to illustrate fire safety and precautions to take while camping or starting a controlled fire in the forest during fire season. Here are some important tips from the Forest Service website:
- Make sure you are at a site that allows campfires.
- Make sure there are no burn bans and it’s not too windy.
- Dig a pit away from overhanging branches.
- Circle the pit with rocks.
- Clear a 10-foot area around the pit down to the dirt, removing anything that could catch on fire.
- Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
- After lighting, throw the match into the fire.
- Never leave a campfire unattended; an adult should supervise the campfire at all times.
- Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.
- Never put anything but wood into the fire.
- Do not pull sticks out of the fire.
- Do not sit on the fire ring or rocks around the campfire. They will heat up quickly and they’ll stay hot for a long time.
- When it’s time to put the fire out, dump lots of water on it, stir it with a shovel, then dump more water on it. Make sure it is COLD before leaving the campsite. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
If you are a seasoned camper, here are a few tips for the next time you question lighting the campfire.
Do you camp often and have some must-follow rules for your campfires? Let us know your preventative measures so we can share them with our community! Also, don’t forget to pin!