Putting Your Fire Out

If you have monitored the amount of fuel added whilst the fire has been burning, hopefully there won’t be much work needed when putting your fire out. This section gives you information about how to put out your fire safely and so it leaves little impact on the natural area as you leave. (Click the Out Logo above for a printable version of these instructions) .

  1. The first step is to put out the fire. It is best to let the flames go out on their own and this should be easily achieved through careful control of the fuel you are adding in relation to activity and finishing time. You should be left with hot coals/embers.
  2. Break up coals and embers by stirring with a stick or metal item(e.g.shovel) if you have one.
  3. Ideally you can wait for the embers to now burn away to ash. However, you can start to cool before this happens. You now need to cool the remaining embers by pouring or sprinkling water onto individual hot embers. It is important not to just pour water over the whole fire, as this can produce a dangerous flash of steam. 
  4.  Once embers have started to cool you may pour more water onto the fire and mix further with your stick or stirring item. Poke holes into the ground using the stick to help the water drain away.
  5. Once cold, if you have large pieces of partially burnt wood, these need to be removed from the site. The remaining ash can be spread around using your stick, then surrounding forest floor materials can be used to re-cover the spot.
  6. If you had your fire on a grass site, return the turf that was removed before the fire was lit.
  7.  If your cleanup is completed well, you shouldn’t be able to tell a fire was ever lit.

Additional Clearing: As well as putting out the fire you need to dismantle your fire circle. This will involve spreading/ returning logs to where you found them, ensuring they do not create tripping hazards. If areas of woodland floor have been cleared you may need to push forest floor covering back into place. Ensure all rubbish, food waste and water are disposed of following the waste disposal policy.

Teaching: When teaching the extinguishing of fires it is important to model first, clear modelling will ensure that fires are put out correctly and safely, whilst following a clear set of guidelines. When extinguishing during modelling or if there is only one fire on site, it is worth considering methods to get the whole group involved. One method I have seen is individuals pouring a cup of water onto the fire each, coupling the pouring with  reflective words from the session.