Bonfires are a fun, popular way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family on those cooler days and nights. It’s important to remain educated about bonfire safety. What are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of bonfire safety? Let’s explore…


  • In order to have a fun, safe experience with bonfires, you’ll want to make sure that your set-up is a far enough distance away from any structure. Use enough wood to build a substantial fire that everyone can gather around, but keep in mind that it must be small enough to be controlled. Always keep water or an extinguisher close by.
  • It’s not safe to start a fire of any kind on dry land. Make sure that any area surrounding the fire are nice and damp.
  • Keep a water source nearby.
  • Choose a location that is away from trees, bushes, and structures.
  • Don’t build your fire near dead grass, any dry leaves, branches, or bark.
  • Keep children a safe distance away from the fire at all times (this includes our furry friends!)
  • Only use dry, untreated wood for your fire. Wood that is covered with paint may be dangerous because paint can have flammable chemicals in it. This can be dangerous.
  • Have the appropriate tools available to adjust burning wood as needed.



  • Never start a fire with lighter fluid, gasoline, or kerosene.
  • Never throw anything into a bonfire. Roasting marshmellows is different because they are usually attached to a stick or a long pole, so you’re able to roast them while maintaining a safe distance from the flames.
  • Fumes from aluminum are toxic, so be sure to keep soda cans a beer cans away from the fire at all times.
  • Moist wood like cedar and pine have the potential to create dangerous situations like sparks. Do not use them.
  • If your wood bends, but doesn’t break, this means it is too wet to use for the fire. Plus, wet wood can cause irritating smoke that can bother your eyes.
  • Never leave the fire location until it is properly and sufficiently put out. In order to know when it’s safe to leave the location, place your hand about a foot away from the embers. If you can still feel heat, it’s still too hot to leave. To put out of the fire, add more water and dirt.

It’s important to note that consuming alcohol has contributed to over 60% of burns suffered at campfires, beaches, and bonfires. Always have a sober adult present to act as overwatch.

As temperatures drop, the idea of a bonfire is most certainly an attractive one. Being surrounded by family and our closest friends is definitely something we want to be able to do. At the end of the day, we all want to have an enjoyable, memorable experience. Practicing these Do’s and Don’ts will help you do just that.