If You Can Recycle It, Don’t Burn It
Some may argue that certain materials, such as cardboard, are safer for the environment than plastic and styrofoam. It is difficult to determine which materials have been treated with chemicals. If you are uncertain, we suggest tossing it in your recycle bin and grabbing natural materials listed in the next tips.
For perspective, here is a snapshot of the toxins released from burning materials found on/in campsite trash materials:
Paint – Lead, Mercury, PCB’s (release dioxins and furans when burned at lower temps), Teflon
Glu – Cyanide (located in composite wood products)
Printed Ink Paper – Carcinogenic gases
Plastic – Hydrogen Cyanide
Styrofoam – Styrene, Carbon Monoxide, PAHs, Carbon Black
Use Real, Local, Untreated, Dry Wood
Burning wood releases toxins. If you are opting for a campfire, it’s best to forage local, fallen, dry wood. Avoid chemically treated wood and fire starters. This helps control your carbon footprint around the campfire.
Avoid Fresh Greenery
If you have a lot of white smoke, that is an indication of moisture. The moisture creates creosote. Creosote causes build-up in chimneys and releases volatile chemicals into the air. Always grab seasoned wood when building a fire.
Use Aromatic Dry Herbs
Dry herbs are a delicious fire starter. Rosemary sprigs make great ties for your herbs. Tie sprigs around cinnamon sticks, dried citrus peels, whole cloves, lemongrass leaves and lavender for an aromatic fire. Creating dry herb fire starters is a fun Fall craft with friends.
Safe Pits Prevent Firefighter Trips
What you put into the campfire is important and keeping the fire contained is essential. We like to dig a hole and build a perimeter of rocks around the fire if a fire pit isn’t available. This helps prevent burning wood from falling into your campsite. A good rule to follow is 10 to 20 feet away from trees and buildings. This ensures safety for you and fellow campers.
*Always check wood burning bans and fire regulations in your local area before building a fire.