Safety Tips for Bonfires

Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

Fire safety is important - even at a bonfire. Follow these recommendations to make your next bonfire safe and enjoyable for all:

• Use a fire pit, as opposed to just building a fire on the ground. Fire pits should be approximately 12-18 inches deep, at least 2 feet wider than the size of the fire, and circled with stones or bricks.
• Find a safe place to build your fire pit. It should be away from buildings, parked cars, overhead trees, and other fuel sources.
• Use a small amount of wood combined with kindling materials to start the fire. Never use starter fluids or fuel to light the bonfire.
• Don't let the flames get out of control or exceed 3 feet higher than the wood materials.
• Have at least one type of extinguisher on hand. This could be a 5-gallon bucket of water, a bucket of sand, or a charged ABC fire extinguisher.
• Have a shovel nearby to keep hot embers in check, and to help extinguish the fire at the end of the evening.
• Children should always be under adult supervision, and not be permitted to tend the fire.
• Fireworks and alcohol do not mix well at bonfires, and should not be allowed near the open flame.
• Keep a first aid kit on hand for minor injuries like splinters, scratches, and burns.
• Keep a cell phone on hand for calling 9-1-1 for larger injuries or to report an out-of-control fire.

For more information on fire prevention, including helpful worksheets for planning and preparing for fire emergencies, please visit the National Fire Protection Association website at

OSU Ag Safety programs can be accessed at contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.