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How to Clean Up a Campsite Properly

Have you ever heard the song that Barney sang? The one that says “Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere!” so children will pick up after playing and make cleaning up fun instead of a dreaded chore. Sad, but true, cleaning up after us is a necessity, especially when camping. Not doing so can have unpleasant consequences for the next campers and their pets who follow right behind you and want to call that area home for a time. You might want to sing Barney’s song while cleaning or dance your way through the chores, but however you decide to conduct the task, it’s important to do it properly and thoroughly. Here are some tips for cleaning up your site.

campsite fire with chairs in background
Fire at a campsite

Make sure that campfire has been extinguished properly!

This is huge! I mean really huge!!! Failing to fully put out your campfire could potentially burn the entire campground to the ground, especially in the winter months in the south when all the dried leaves are falling to the ground.

Here’s a few tips to make sure your campfire is extinguished:

  • Wet down the coals. Go carefully and slowly and not splatter or create ash-filled clouds of steam.

  • Stir those coals. Make sure everything is completely wet and you do not see any hot coals or embers. If you do, rewet the entire coal bed again.

  • Feel the coals and/or fire pit. Feeling the coals and the pit is the only sure way to guarantee the coals are completely cool with no lingering heat. Don’t rely on sight alone.

Keep repeating these steps until you are absolutely sure everything is completely out. One final tip, DO NOT bury hot coals. They can smolder, spread and is extremely hazardous.