How to Put Out a Campfire Without Water: 3 Easy Hacks

When camping or setting up a campfire in your backyard, it’s crucial that you effectively and completely put out the fire. However, if you don’t have resources like water (or don’t want to waste your water), there are some other options that are both safe and efficient.

The best way to put out a fire without water is to first spread it out, throw dirt on it, and then step on any remains. In doing so, it helps to guarantee that there are no burning coals or wood that could eventually escalate to a bigger fire after the campers leave the campsite.

These hacks can be extremely helpful in terms of not wasting resources like water, effectively keeping the campsite and surrounding area safe for the next user, and making a minimum impact on the wildlife. However, there are some drawbacks to using these hacks instead of water.

Spread Out the Remains of the Fire

We highly recommend completing this step first, as it will make any other steps a lot easier to finish. After all, it’s more manageable to put out a few embers than a roaring fire.

To complete this task, poke the fire with a stick to disperse the remains. Though it’s recommended to fulfill this task on a fire that’s already dying out, it’s not impossible to do on a fire that is still lit. All you have to do is spread out the remains even wider and make sure nothing else catches on fire.

If there are still somewhat intact logs remaining, separate them so that they don’t touch and can’t keep the fire alive. If there are smaller pieces on fire, such as sticks, you won’t have to worry as much about these causing the logs to catch fire again, so they don’t need to be as widely spread.

For coals or other extremely hot pieces of wood, make sure to not only spread them out, but also try and break them up as much as possible. These pieces are the ones that you want to keep away from others, as anything touching them will catch fire again—even if the coals or hot pieces of wood that don’t look to be warm.

Pros of this Hack

Even if you do decide to use water to put out your fire, you’ll want to spread out the fire beforehand. This is a great universal hack for any fire you put out. It saves resources and time by making the fire smaller by distributing the pieces that need to be put out.

Cons of this Hack

This hack alone won’t put out your fire. It is simply a preparation you should do in order so the next hacks are more effective.

It can also be tricky to use this hack on a campfire that was made in a small space where you don’t have a lot of room to spread it out. You want to be careful where you spread the hot remains of the fire, as they can easily catch other parts of the forest or surrounding area on fire. Do the best you can with distributing the fire, and then move on to the next steps.

Throw Dirt on the Fire

This is an excellent hack that some might not think of trying. But if you’re trying to preserve water (or don’t have any water), this is the ultimate trick you need to implement in order to put out a fire. In doing so, you’re using a natural fire suppression element and aren’t introducing new or unwelcome materials to the area.

Keep in mind that this trick won’t work well on a full-blown fire. The fire needs to be spread out and only burning on its embers. If you try to toss dirt on a fire with flames, it won’t do anything. This is why we recommend spreading out the remains first before doing this hack. Otherwise, it will be a waste of dirt and time.

Pros of this Hack

Luckily, you will never run out of this resource. Where there is a campfire, there is sure to be dirt around it. Mud should work just as well, or even snow (though, hopefully you aren’t camping often in such extreme weather where you can find snow just lying around). This is one of the most natural ways to put out a fire since the ash from the fire will eventually become part of the dirt anyway.

Cons of this Hack

The downside to this hack is that it’s not as effective as water, blankets, or other common methods. It’s a slow process to smother the fire in dirt, especially if you’re only sprinkling it on top. Also, if you add too much dirt to the campfire pit, you risk filling the area too much so that no future campers can use the area for a fire. So, try to be considerate of not only the nature around you, but also any campers that come after you.

Step on Remaining Hot Parts of the Fire

This is a great last-resource, just-in-case kind of hack you can use to make sure that nothing will catch on fire again when you leave. After spreading out the fire and throwing dirt on it, you might want to consider smothering the fire one last time by stepping on any remaining hot parts of the fire.

In doing so, you keep the campfire pit safe to help the forest and other campers that will visit the area. Even if the embers don’t look hot, they could be holding some secret heat inside of them that could cause a fire after you leave.

Be careful when stepping into a campfire pit because you could injure yourself or burn your shoes. If you’re going to step on the remains of the fire, make sure to do so quickly and don’t linger. You also want to make sure that the remains are at the right temperature so that you won’t melt your shoes.

Pros of this Hack

By this point, you’ve already smothered the fire in dirt, and by smothering and spreading the fire with your shoe, you kill any other heat the embers could try and create. It’s also not a waste of resources and won’t harm the environment around you.

Cons of this Hack

It could easily become a safety hazard, so tread with caution. Make sure you don’t accidentally slip while stepping in the pit and make sure you don’t burn your shoes or injure yourself in any other way while stepping on the embers of your campfire.