Foolproof Way to Extinguish Campfires


Campfire photo courtesy of

It seems that everyone recommends putting out campfires by drenching the hot coals with water, then covering them with dirt.

The problem with drenching coals with water is that the coals boil the water, and very often coals will remain live despite the drenching.  And the dirt simply banks the coals, keeping them alive, so that any exposure to air will re-ignite them.

I’ve been using a foolproof method for years that leaves the coals cool to the touch in 15 minutes.  No water needed.

All I do, after the  firewood has burned down into coals, is take a long stick and separate the coals so that no two are touching.  It only takes a few minutes.  When the coals are not touching each other, they die.  They will all be comfortable to handle within 15 minutes.

It seems to me that the danger of forest fires started by abandoned campfires could be eliminated if people used this method.  No need to carry buckets of water.  No need for shovels.  All you need is a long stick and a little patience.

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