We all use fire every day, commonly for cooking but also to warm up our homes, fingers or toes, incinerate waste, create light, forge and make items or even signal for help. But fire can be as harmful as it is helpful, and it should always be treated with proper respect and precaution.

Campfires

Before setting out to your campground, you should always check to find out if there is a fire ban in effect. Click here for BC fire restrictions and here for Alberta fire restrictions

If the weather is windy and dry, you should save a campfire for another time. Wind can easily carry hot embers or sparks from the fire to dry surrounding vegetation, which could potentially catch and start a forest fire.

In the event of a fire ban in your area, a propane fire pit may be permitted.

Once you have checked the weather and local fire bans to ensure it is safe to start a campfire, you are ready to begin preparing the site.

Most campgrounds have already done this step for you by providing a pre dug firepit and a surrounding fire ring.

However if you are camping off the grid or at a campground that has not built fire pits, you’ll need to make your own.

1. Build your fire away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, dry grass or leaves, chemicals or fuel tanks.

2. Clear all vegetation at least 5 feet around the area you want to put your fire, right down to the soil.

3. Use rocks to create a fire ring, and dig a slight dip into the ground to start your fire in.

To learn how to build a campfire, see our Campfire Tips and Tricks blog post! 

Never leave your campfire unattended, and have a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.

Stack extra firewood a safe distance upwind from the fire, and use hard dry wood. Soft wood, such as pine, gives off lots of sparks. Wet wood with thick bark will lead to a fire with lots of smoke, so try peeling the bark off the firewood to expose the dry wood inside.

There is no need to build a massive fire and create more of a hazard. A small campfire with hot coals can put out a lot of heat! With a proper size fire and good timing, your fire should be ready to die by the time you are ready to extinguish it.

If you can allow the firewood to burn down to ash, it is easier to extinguish. Start by spreading the coals as much as you can with a shovel, increasing airflow and removing any unburnt fuel to help it cool faster.

Once you have spread the coals it is time to douse the fire. Water is the best option, but you can also use sand or dirt if you do not have access to water. Pour the water onto the embers until the hissing stops, or throw a thin layer of dirt or sand onto the coals to inhibit its access to oxygen. Be careful not to apply too much dirt or sand, which can insulate the embers and potentially reignite itself later.

Stir the remaining ash to find remaining embers. If large logs remain, rotate and scrape the embers off of it before placing it burnt side down into the water.

Repeatedly stir, douse, and stir again until all the embers are extinguished and the fire is cool to the touch. You can also add a layer of dirt or sand on top as precaution.

Wildfires

Roughly 8,000 wildfires occur every year in Canada, consuming an average of 2.5 million hectors every year since 1990. Although climate change is driving the increasing severity, 4 out of 5 wildfires are caused by humans and we all need to take precaution and do our part in preventing a devastating wildfire.

Dispose of used matches and cigarette butts into closed containers or a cup of water, and never throw cigarette butts out car windows in a dry area.

If your vehicle is still hot, don’t park it right on top of dry grass, and always be careful to not spill any gas, motor oil or propane when you are refilling something.

Off road vehicles, tractors, dirt bikes and ATV’s that are used in wooden areas should have spark arrestors to prevent a fire.

Fireworks are a tradition when it comes to certain holidays, but they can easily start a fire!

When you are lighting fireworks you should always have water or a fire extinguisher on hand, and even wet down the ground around the fireworks before you light them.

Double check the weather to make sure there isn’t any wind, and that there isn’t woods nearby. Once you’ve lit your fireworks and enjoyed, douse the used fireworks in water to cool them quickly.

If you see an unattended fire, immediately call 911 or your local fire station.

RV Fire Safety

National Fire Prevention estimates 20,000 RV fires occur annually, half of which occur while the RV is parked.  But do not let these statistics scare you, because RV fires are completely preventable with proper care and upkeep of your RV and mindfulness while camping.

Our parts department has a variety of propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke alarms as well as fire extinguishers that are the perfect size for RV use!

Tire Monitoring Systems

Fires can also happen while you are on the road. Tire fires are a result of the tire being ready to blow to go flat. RV tire blowouts are much more dangerous than ordinary car blowouts due the the larger tires, more air pressure and the  significantly heavier weight of a RV. As you drive, the tires rub against the pavement creating heat, increasing the tire air pressure from when the RV was parked, and the tires were cold. If your tires are not properly inflated it will lead to premature wearing of the rubber, and more fuel consumption.

A tire monitoring system immediately puts your mind at ease as it monitors the temperature and air pressure of each tire, and immediately alerts you if anything changes or becomes a potential issue. A tire monitoring system allows you to get off of the road before an accident happens, and can literally save your RV.

Our parts department has a variety of propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke alarms as well as fire extinguishers that are the perfect size for RV use!

Fire Extinguishers

While most RV’s come with one fire extinguisher, you should actually have 3-4 extinguishers throughout your RV. If a fire starts in the RV’s front kitchen, and the fire extinguisher is by the rear entry door, those precious seconds spent dashing to reach your extinguisher could mean the loss of your RV, or worse. Having an extinguisher in each room of the RV allows you to quickly put out a fire before it grows into something more serious. Advanced suppression agent fire extinguishers are perfect for RV’s because of their small size.

Along with your fire alarms, you should also check your fire extinguishers at least once a year. Check the pressure, expiry date, and then flip it upside down and smack the base of the extinguisher with your hand to mix the substance inside and prevent settling.

Alarms

Your RV should be properly equipped with a fire alarm, a carbon monoxide detector, and a propane detector. At Traveland our new RV’s all come standard with each of these alarms, and we also sell them in our parts department if you are purchasing a used unit that may be missing one.

You should replace the batteries of your smoke alarm every year, and after 5 years replace the alarm entirely to ensure it is always going to work perfectly.

Everyone camping should familiarize themselves with what each alarm sounds like in case of an emergency, and have at least two escape routes out of the RV. Find the emergency escape windows in your RV and always double check that you can open them easily before you leave on your camping trip. Have a plan and practice it with everyone who is staying in the RV in case of an emergency.

Fifth wheel owners who have a bedroom in the upper gooseneck of the trailer can place a latter outside beneath their bedroom escape window before bed in case of a fire. Jumping from the front bedroom of a fifth wheel would be quite a leap!

Our parts department has a variety of propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke alarms as well as fire extinguishers that are the perfect size for RV use!

Our parts department has a variety of propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke alarms as well as fire extinguishers that are the perfect size for RV use!

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Have your RV inspected annually by one of our Traveland RV Technicians!

Furnace and fridge maintenance, transferring switch lugs, testing propane fittings, greasing wheel bearings, axles, and the list goes on! Your RV requires essential maintenance that should be done at least once a year, and failure to do so can put you and your family at a higher risk for an accident or fire next time you are camping.  Luckily, we have the perfect people for the job at your local Traveland dealership! Our certified RV techs will happily service and inspect your RV for you, and allow you to put your mind at ease for the rest of the year.

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