Camping during dry summer months poses the possibility of wildfires. They are inevitable in certain parts of the country, but there are measures you can take to keep your family safe on your trip. You can also take precautions to prevent fires on your campsite. Smokey the bear may have been wrong when he said only you can prevent forest fires, but you certainly want to do everything you can to do so.
Before taking your RV on the road, check your fuel lines for leaks. This is a common cause of fires and can easily be checked visually. If you are embarking on a long journey, check these lines frequently. If you aren’t sure how to check for this, take your RV in to get it serviced. When it is there, they can also check your electrical system and refrigerator for problems. This is something you should do as part of your yearly maintenance routine.
In addition to routine maintenance on your RV, you should also check the smoke detectors. Fires can start in your RV and since RVs are small, you will have little to no time to get out. Every second counts, so it is important to have working detectors as well as fire extinguishers on both ends of your camper. Teach your children about fire safety to prevent accidents in and around the RV, and come up with an emergency plan. Your emergency plan should include escaping from both the RV and the campground. Campgrounds sometimes have emergency plans you can check into during your stay.
When you arrive at your campsite, check to see if there is a fire warning in the area. Depending on rainfall during the summer, some areas do not allow any kind of fires. If you are able to have a fire or barbecue, monitor it closely. Clear away any brush or debris that could potentially spread the fire from a spark. Before going in for the night, put your fire out with water or sand to ensure it won’t continue to burn while you sleep. It is important to not assume it will “burn out” on its own.
Consider what your “must-haves” are that you would absolutely not be able to replace in the event of a fire. For example, this could include medications, documents, or personal identification. These items should be placed in a safe spot that would not catch fire. If you have room, you could also include additional emergency supplies like food rations and a first aid kit. Create an emergency kit that works for your family and for your trip.
Although you need to be aware of fire safety everywhere you camp, there are states with a higher chance of wildfires. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the states with the highest number of wildfires are California, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon. To check if the area you are visiting has a fire ban, visit FireRestrictions.us.