MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — It is that time of the year for campfires in the backyard or while camping. That being said, it is important to be careful so you can fully enjoy the campfires you are having this fall.

Before you enjoy your s’mores and hot dogs at bonfires this fall, the McLean County Emergency Management Agency has four tips for campfire safety:

Pick Your Spot Wisely: Use existing fire circles or pits if available. Do not build a fire in dry or windy conditions, especially if there are fire restrictions in place (check with local authorities). Build fires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs, or other flammable materials.

Prepare Your Pit: Choose a spot for your campfire that is downwind from your tent and gear, and protected from wind gusts. Clear a 10-foot-wide diameter area around your site, and make sure there are no limbs or branches hanging over your pit. Always circle the pit with rocks, or use an existing fire ring.

Build A Small Campfire: Once you have a prepared pit, you are ready to build a small campfire that stays well within the fire pit. It is recommended to use three types of wood. Tinder, which is made of small twigs, dry leaves, or grass, will get the fire started initially. Kindling, consisting of twigs smaller than one inch around, will help to light the larger pieces of wood. Fuel—the large pieces of wood—will provide the heat and sustained flames once the tinder and kindling are consumed.

This is the most important step! EXTINGUISH THE FIRE PROPERLY: Campers need to properly maintain and extinguish campfires when going to bed or leaving the area. If possible, let the campfire burn down to ashes. Pour water on the fire to drown all embers, not just the red ones. Once this is done, stir everything in the pit with a shovel and test for heat with the back of your hand. Once it is completely out, you are safe to go to bed or leave the area.

To learn more about the McLean County Emergency Management Agency, visit its website.