News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on June 23, 2022


Transylvania County is home to some of the best camping in the entire country.  You want to think about safety before starting a fire and you should keep it in mind while the fire is going, too.

  • Close enough to toast marshmallows, not hands = Depending on the size of your fire and how windy it is, you might be able to sit right by it - or you might have to stand several feet away.  If you plan on cooking on the fire, make sure you have cooking tools that are long enough so you have a safe distance between you and the fire. Look for cooking tools with insulated handles to avoid burns.
  • Watch children and pets around campfires = It almost goes without saying, but if you’re camping with kids or pets, keep an eye on them. Young children who haven’t been around a campfire before might not be cautious about running near it.
  • Drinking and burning = If the campground where you’re staying allows alcoholic beverages, do not throw bottles or cans into the fire! Broken glass and half-melted aluminum will probably make the next camper pretty unhappy. Burning anything but wood (especially plastics) can also lead to toxic gases.  Also keep in mind that your campground is a public space, and public intoxication is generally illegal, in addition to being pretty unsafe when you’re tending to an open fire.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Always keep water nearby when you have a campfire. You might have a sudden need to put it out or the weather might change dramatically (such as the wind might push your fire out of your fire ring). Know what steps to take if someone is burned by sparks, hot cooking tools, or coals. Don’t forget to “stop, drop, and roll” if any of your clothes catch on fire.  If your fire gets out of control, note your location and call 911 for assistance. If there is no cell service, contact the nearest park ranger or campground host to report the fire. 

All good things come to an end but if your campfire is too hot to touch, don’t leave or go to sleep. Whitish or gray coals can retain heat for hours and hours - and can flare up if the wind starts gusting. So, even if you have no more open flames, spread out your coals as best you can.

  • If you have water available = Be sure to douse your fire and coals with plenty of water when you’re ready to call it a night.
  • If you have no water = In a pinch, use sand and dirt. However, don’t simply kick sand or dirt on your fire - sometimes that can insulate or “bank” the coals, keeping them hot even longer than if they remained exposed. Spread the coals out with a poker or other device, and then continually stir dirt and sand among the coals until they extinguish.                      


Source:  National Park Service