Starting Fire

Why You Should Never Pee on the Fire

You’ll be very sorry—and very, very smelly.

Campfire (Photo by webhamster/Flickr)

I don’t remember where I heard that peeing on a fire is a reasonable way to put it out. It certainly seemed reasonable before I tried it: Here’s an on-board supply of waste liquid, I’d thought. Waste liquid I’d made from beer, because my body is a temple. I remember holding “it” until I figured I’d have plenty for the task, and then, less than a minute into it, thinking, Dang, my bladder’s not big enough. Then, shortly thereafter, uttering a phrase I’m not likely to forget: “Dude, can you help me piss on this fire?” Steam and the acrid smell of warm, pee-scented fumes worked into our clothes and hair and nostrils—and long-term memories. Never try to extinguish a fire with pee; there’s not enough beer in the world for the task.