Prevent Accidents: How to Extinguish a Beach Bonfire


And, on Fishers Island,
make sure the sand and beach rocks
have cooled to the touch
as well as the embers*.

  • Bring a bucket. Fill it with supplies for the start of the cookout, and ocean water at the end of the event to extinguish the fire. DON’T: Smother the fire with sand to extinguish it.

According to the National Park Service, the sand will insulate the hot coals.

  1. It’s essential that you don’t forget to fully extinguish your beach bonfire at the end of the event to minimize your risk of [causing someone to burn their feet by walking on the still-burning-hot embers] or starting a wildfire.
  2. To ensure that your fire is completely out, you’ll want to pack buckets, pails, or other large containers to collect a lot of water from the ocean. Pour the water in multiple doses onto the fire and mix the embers with a stick until the embers are cool enough for YOU to touch.
  3. Then, and only then, if you built a fire pit by digging into the sand on the beach, you can fill the COLD hole back in with sand before heading home. It’s as simple as that! ~

And the same advice from Men’s Journal

Pour water onto the flames.
Then add more water. “Water, stir [with a stick], water, stir, water, stir, and more water, that’s about it for putting out a campfire,” says Silberberg, a Leave No Trace trainer. Add water until the campfire is cool enough that you can put your hand on the spot where it was and not get burned, he adds.

Ember burial is not effective for putting out a fire,” adds Webster. “In the forest, it can keep smoldering and growing until it reaches something flammable like a tree. On the beach, it can stay hot for many hours (or days) and can injure other beachgoers.”

*This post was created in reaction to an actual horrible accident on Fishers Island this month resulting in severe burns to a child. The incident could have been completely avoided had the beach fire been put out thoughtfully, correctly, and responsibly.

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