There is something idyllic and wonderful about having a fire on the beach at night while listening to the waves come crashing on shore and roasting marshmallows on the fire. While they are a lot of fun while they happen, there are a number of hidden dangers involving beach bonfires.
First, there are the obvious hazards of fires that have to be managed. It is very important not to let anyone get too close to the fire while it is burning or there is a significant chance that that person will get burned. The problem is harder to manage when the goal is roasting marshmallows. In order to hold a marshmallow close enough to roast it, a person must also be close to the fire.
Once the fire is extinguished, the hazards are not eliminated. When a fire is doused with water, it is put out but, depending on how much ash is present, it is possible for there to be deeper layers of ash that can burn people. This is not a hazard to those who partook in the bonfire but more to those that do not realize how recent the fire was. The people who were there for the fire know the ash is hot. The next morning’s beach-goers might not realize that the ash is hot and can burn their feet.
Another problem is when a fire is doused by tossing sand over it. While the sand does put the fire out, it is possible for the heat of the ash and the flames to melt the sand and cause it to form glass. This too is a problem for beach-goers. What makes the glass problem worse is that the ashes and any glass are covered by sand so it’s impossible to avoid the pit.
Covering the fire with sand also insulates the ashes. This means that even if a person doesn’t step on glass created by the fire, that person can step into some very hot ash.