By Jim Twamley
Let me state this clearly: RVers who leave campfires unattended are thoughtless. Besides the fact that an unattended fire has the potential to burn down the camp, many people are allergic to the products in campfire smoke. Some may have mild reactions such as congestion or watering eyes. Others can have more severe reactions such as throat constriction and asthma attacks.
Many RVers don’t realize this and allow their campfires to smolder until the campground looks like Los Angeles back in the ’60s. If there is a constant breeze to carry the smoke away this isn’t usually a problem. However, when there is little or no breeze, and you insist on having a campfire, then please keep it a fire and not a “smoke generator.” By that I mean, you need to keep feeding the fire so that you see flames. There will still be smoke, but flame indicates that you are achieving a more thorough burn and dissipating less smoke into your neighbor’s RV.
And please, when you are done with your campfire put it out completely! Drown it with water, stir the ashes, drown it again, stir the ashes and repeat. When you are finished, there should be no smoke coming out of your fire pit. Don’t worry, the fire pit will dry out for the next campfire. If, however you leave your fire pit smoldering, you could be causing a kid to have an asthma attack. Many kids (including one of my grandchildren) have asthma and carry inhalers. If you’ve never experienced an asthma attack yourself or seen someone have one, you have no idea how painful and dangerous this condition really is.
So, please, when you have a campfire, use it responsibly, namely keep it fed and put it out when you’re done. Helping kids have a pleasurable camping experience is one of the joys of the RV lifestyle.