Preparing a Safe Fire Area

Before lighting a fire it is essential that you prepare appropriately. Ensuring that your area is well prepared has a number of advantages:

  • Firstly, you can people’s health and safety are protected whilst lighting a fire.
  • The impact of your fire on the Woodland area can be reduced.
  • You can ensure your fire is successful and you create the ideal fire for your activity.

Choosing an Area

The first consideration is to the location of your fire within the woodland area. When picking the location you should consider:

  • Choose a clearer area, away from trees and bushes
  • Ensure there are no low overhanging branches
  • Avoid areas of peat as the fire can travel through the peat, sometimes underground.
  • Avoid stony areas with large rocks, when heated these rocks may explode.
  • Try and choose somewhere with a natural windbreak
  • Never build a fire too close to a rock or cliff face so that it chars the natural environment
  • If in a grassed area it is important to remove a small area of turf beforehand, this can be placed back into the fire area afterwards.
  • Use fire ring if provided, if not make one with stones or one with thicker pieces of wood, this will help contain the ash and give you a clear area where the fire is to be contained, ensuring it does not get too large.

Fire Circle Safety

When working with larger groups it is important to consider how to keep the fire circle safe when people are completing  their activities around the fire and moving out of the fire area. In this situation, you should plan your fire circle carefully and brief the group on the rules before the fire is lit. Click the link below to see a number of planned fire circles and their rules that can be shared with children.


Fire Circle Safety Equipment

When lighting a fire it is essential that the leader and learners are well prepared. Before lighting a fire ensure the safety equipment is available. A source of water must be available for extinguishing the fire and dealing with burns. (Click on the image below for a printable version of the safety equipment).

Think carefully about where your safety equipment is positioned so you have easy access to it once the fire is lit. Ensure a number of people are familiar with the use of specialist equipment(e.g. fire extinguishers and blankets) .