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Abandoned Campfires a Growing Problem [AUDIO]

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Bitterroot National Forest firefighters on routine patrol discovered and extinguished two abandoned campfires over the weekend. The fires were left burning in fire rings at camp areas on the West Fork Ranger District. At one location, campers had already left the site. At the second, the campers left their fire smoldering while hiking down to a creek near their campsite. In both cases, if fire crews had not been close by, the abandoned campfires could have quickly and easily spread with just a little wind. This is the fifth abandoned campfire discovered and extinguished by firefighters this summer on the Bitterroot National Forest. Crews have also put out 20 lightning caused fires.

Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it’s your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire by following these tips:


1. Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.

2. Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones

3. Pour water until the hissing sound stops

4. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel

5. Stir and make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch

6. If you don’t have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt and sand with the embers until material is cool

7. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave


For more campfire safety tips visit

Bitterroot National Forest Spokesman Todd McKay

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