Safety Quiz: Campfire and Camp Stove Safety

Campfires are great. They can be a huge part of outdoor events and the Scouting experience as a whole.

Not only do they provide heat for warmth and cooking, but they also play a role in ceremonies and other activities during campouts.

In some cases, safety and environmental awareness concerns have persuaded many campers to move away from traditional outdoor campfires in favor of chemical-fueled equipment.

Before any chemical fuels or chemical-fueled equipment is used, an adult knowledgeable about chemical fuels and equipment, including regulatory requirements, should resolve any hazards not specifically addressed within this policy.

Review the Guide to Safe Scouting, the BSA Safety Moment on campfire safety, and BSA incident reviews on campfires and burns from starting fires, and then come back and take our quiz.

1. Small fires or camp stoves are allowed in tents as long as (there might be more than one correct answer):
a. you’re using a family-sized tent at least 100 square feet in size
b. the tent has a vent for a wood-burning stove
c. you’re using a small BSA-approved cooking stove
d. … actually there should be no flames in tents, no matter what

2. True or false: If the wood for your campfire is damp, you can use a small amount of flammable liquid (Coleman fuel or white gas) to start the fire.
a. True
b. False

Photo by W. Garth Dowling

3. Handcrafted, modified or homemade stoves are allowed in Scouting under the following conditions:
a. These devices are not allowed in Scouting under any conditions.
b. A qualified adult instructs youth on how the stove was made so they can understand why it’s safe.
c. The stove is operated only by older Scouts under adult supervision.
d. Both a and b

4. Which of the following chemical fuels is not recommended:
a. kerosene
b. liquid alcohol
c. liquified petroleum gas
d. vegetable oil fuels

Photo by Beth Wald

5. You can tell a campfire has been fully extinguished when (choose the best answer):
a. you can no longer see any flames
b. you can no longer see smoke
c. the ashes or coals from the fire are cold to the touch
d. it’s been 24 hours since the fire was put out

6. Chemical fuels should be stored:
a. in a shady spot, like in a tent or under a dining fly
b. away from sources of ignition, buildings and tents
c. it really doesn’t matter as long as they’re in their original container
d. in a vehicle or structure at least 200 yards from the nearest campsite

7. A Leave No Trace campfire site has which of the following characteristics:
a. Fire will cause no further negative impact on the land.
b. Fire cannot spread from the chosen site to another area.
c. Fire will not degrade the surrounding area as a result of the concentrated trampling of people who are cooking and socializing.
d. All of the above

Photo by Joe Klementovich

8. Fire building requires three types of flammable materials:
a. Tinder, kindling and fuel wood
b. Match, kindling and fuel wood
c. Bumble, kindling and fuel wood
d. eHarmony, kindling and fuel wood

9. Which of the following is one advantage of using a stove instead of a campfire:
a. You can discard empty fuel cannisters almost anywhere.
b. You can use them to signal for help in an emergency.
c. They will not scar the earth or damage trees.
d. You can use them to dry out clothing.

10. Which of the following is one advantage of a campfire instead of a stove:
a. They don’t need to be closely monitored.
b. You can build one literally anywhere.
c. They’re easy to build even in the wettest of conditions.
d. They can provide a psychological lift on cold, stormy days, and in any weather they can be the center of fellowship and fun.

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Scroll down for the answers …


1. D. No flames in tents! Even if the tent has a vent for a wood-burning stove, don’t use it. Instead, set up a dining fly. Then, at least 3 feet away from the dining fly, set up a camp stove for your cooking area. The “no flames” rule also applies to candle lanterns, citronella coils or anything else that is ignited by a flame.
2. False. Using liquid fuels for starting any type of fire — including lighting damp wood, charcoal, and ceremonial campfires or displays — is prohibited.
3. A. Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters and propane burners with their regulators removed.
4. B. Liquid alcohol fuels (including isopropyl alcohol, denatured ethyl alcohol and ethanol), unleaded gasoline and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment are not recommended.
5. C. Allow a fire to burn down to ash or very small coals, and then extinguish it by sprinkling the embers with plenty of water. Stir the ashes to moisten them thoroughly. Don’t stop until you can safely place your hand on the extinguished coals.
6. B. Store chemical fuels in their original containers or in containers designed for immediate use. Securely store any spare fuel away from sources of ignition, buildings and tents.
7. D.
8. A.
9. C.
10. D.

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