Texas Living

Guide to Camping and Campfire Safety

By James Mayfield 5.7.14

There are endless advantages to living in the Lone Star State, especially if you love the great outdoors. This time of year is when folks are flocking like geese to the 13 national parks and hundreds of other camping sites across Texas to enjoy nature and — at the end of the day — cozy up with the kids around a fire.

The leading cause of camping injuries to children in America is uncontrolled flames, which are also the main cause of damaging forest fires. With this in mind, here are some safety tips worth remembering to keep you and your children safe on your next outdoor outing.

So dust off your tent, roll up your sleeping bag, and grab your s’more fixings, and remember these camping and campfire safety tips.

Pitching Your Tent

Picking a great spot to pitch your tent can make or break your overnight outdoor experience.

  • Find a flat clearing 100 to 200 feet away from water.
  • Avoid hunkering down directly under trees. Lightning can strike a limb, sending it crashing down.
  • Avoid rocky terrain to steer clear of potential rockslides and ledges that snakes call home.
  • Camp over the high-water mark in dry streambeds or river canyons subject to flash floods.

Starting Your Campfire

  • Build your campfire in a pit away from any dry brush or hanging limbs that might catch fire.
  • Put rocks around the pit area, and clear a five-foot circle of dirt or sand beyond the rocks in case any sparks pop out of the fire. Tell children not to cross that surrounding rock/dirt area of the fire.
  • Allow adults only to add wood. Store extra wood upwind and far away from the pit.
  • Keep a few buckets of water — or a fire extinguisher and a shovel — nearby in case of emergency.
  • Teach children at the campsite about the “stop, drop, and roll” procedure, in case an accident occurs or their clothing catches on fire.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.

Following the Seven Cs

Follow the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s seven Cs of camping. They also have more useful information here.

  • Care: We will care how we camp by being considerate of others.
  • Caution: We will use caution in the use of camping equipment both on the road and at the campsite. We will handle fire and flammable fuels so as not to endanger others or ourselves. We will improve our camping skills, knowing the right way is the safest way.
  • Courtesy: We will practice politeness because it enhances the camping experience. We will respect the privacy of others, control our children, and leash our dogs.
  • Cleanliness: We will be clean in our camping habits and teach our children the importance of cleanliness. We will pick up litter no matter who left it and be proud of the campsites we leave behind.
  • Cooperation: We will observe the letter and spirit of camping regulations and rules established to protect our enjoyment of the outdoors. We will work cooperatively with others to make it better for everyone.
  • Conservation: We will protect the environment in which we enjoy camping and help those whose job it is to guard and wisely manage our country’s natural resources. We will endeavor to leave a better outdoors for those who follow us.
  • Common Sense: We will apply common sense to every situation, knowing that reason, understanding, and humor make camping better for everyone.

Pack away these tips and your family should have a safe, fun-filled campout.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance