FFfPP — The Campfire

The three 15-year-old friends, all Boy Scouts, figured it would be a fun outing to head deep into the woods, where they would start a small campfire, cook up a few hot dogs, and roast some marshmallows. Greg agreed to bring the franks and the hot dog rolls. Andy would supply a bag of marshmallows and the mustard and relish, and David would bring paper plates and cups and would also grab a six pack of beer from the stash that his father kept in the refrigerator in the garage.

After hiking for about an hour, the boys scouted around for a suitable place to start their campfire, which didn’t take long. They put down their backpacks and began foraging for kindling and some decent sized branches for the fire. Using their Boy Scout training, they set about laying out the wood for the campfire. Once it was ready, David squirted some lighter fluid all over the wood, lit a match, and tossed it on to the pile of wood.

The three boys cheered as the wood burst into flames. They took some long, thin sticks they had scavenged from the ground, stuck their hot dogs on the ends of the sticks, and held them over the fire. David popped open three cans of beer and handed one to Greg and one to Andy. David took a long slug from of the one he kept for himself and then let out a long, loud belch. The three boys started laughing hysterically. Yes, it was going to be a fun afternoon.

What none of them counted on was the wind beginning to whip up a bit, causing some sparks and embers from their blazing campfire to be picked up by the strong breezes and carried off a few feet and igniting the dry forest tinder.

What none of them had anticipated was how quickly that tinder would burst into flames and start to spread. David tried to douse the rapidly spreading fire with the beer that remained in his can. The other two boys followed suit, but it was to no avail. They decided that they needed to run for their lives before they, themselves, became engulfed in flames.

What none of them could possibly have imagined was the thousands of burned acres, the homes and businesses destroyed, and the people who lost their lives as a result of the out of control wildfire that they started on their fun outing that afternoon.


Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner from Roger Shipp. Photo credit: Morguefile.

19 thoughts on “FFfPP — The Campfire

  1. Mister Bump UK December 3, 2020 / 4:38 am

    You just reminded me it’s lunchtime. But I think I’ll stick with something cold.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje December 3, 2020 / 6:21 am

    This is a very real danger and often it is the careless actions of thoughtless people that does untold damage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. D. Wallace Peach December 3, 2020 / 9:33 am

    Sadly, this sounds familiar. Two years ago, our Oregon fires started with some kids playing with firecrackers. They were remorseful, but it was too late. Great cautionary tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marleen December 3, 2020 / 4:27 pm

    That’s really not good. It is additionally my understanding that privatizing utilities has involved the profit motive “keeping” the power company/companies from upgrading their own infrastructure in ways to be less fire prone. Everyone needs to be both more informed and more caring. I once called 911 when a power line fell to the ground in a storm. I had been taught in school as a kid that a downed power line is dangerous because someone could be electrocuted. In places like California, now, there is also the great threat of fire if a line falls. Many municipalities have begun requiring that lines be buried underground. It’s theoretically easier to require power companies and installation personnel to do safe things than it is to make sure all individual adolescents and so forth know and care about possible outcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bushboy December 3, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    Not real Boy Scouts….lighter fluid to light the fire, never especially as the wood would have been real dry. Good story and a wake-up for complacency.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. abigfatcanofworms December 4, 2020 / 12:34 am

    A good story. It seems we can all relate. Here in Australia, carelessness with cigarette butts, campfires, etc are serious problems too. An older guy down at the coast tried to do his own clearing and burning of his property late last year. The effects were devastating. So many homes lost. Millions of animals killed. Forests still not recovered. And with climate change, this kind of thing is going to be more and more common as weather patterns change and conditions become harder to predict or prepare for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 4, 2020 / 10:47 am

      Yes, between human careless and climate change, I’m afraid this is going to be a common occurrence from now on. Unfortunately, there’s little we can do about human ignorance/carelessness and there is little will to do anything to effectively combat climate change.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 4, 2020 / 11:21 am

      I know. So much destruction due to carelessness.

      Like

  7. leigha66 December 12, 2020 / 12:18 am

    Well written story. Fire can get out of control so easily, a hard lesson learned.

    Liked by 1 person

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