"It exploded in a surprisingly large fireball" – warning after camping stove blazes out of control

Camping stove inside wooden hut
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A camping organization has warned people to be extremely careful with gas camping stoves, particularly inside flammable wooden huts and bothies. The advice comes after an accident at a bothy in Scotland, where an improperly connected gas camping stove became engulfed in flames.

"With five people in the bothy, one visitor tried to light a stove which had not been properly screwed onto the gas canister," said the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA), which works to maintain remote mountain buildings used by hikers and campers. "Stove and canister instantly flared up, making it impossible to turn off and blazing out of control in the middle of the bothy."

One camper managed to grab the stove with an oven glove and throw it outside, where it exploded in a "surprisingly large fireball" just a few seconds later.

"Had it not been removed quickly it would have exploded inside the bothy, probably causing much damage to bothy and property and certainly seriously burning anyone still inside," said the MBA.

Using a camping stove safely

Before you start using your camping stove, make sure you've read the instructions and know how to assemble it safely. You should also check the stove and gas canister for leaks before heading out. You can do this by mixing dish soap and water in a spray bottle and spraying this on the connection points of the stove and canister. Any bubbles indicate that gas is leaking, and the stove isn't safe to use. No bubbles? Dry your stove and canister with a paper towel and pack them up. 

You should always set up your stove on a flat, clear surface where it won't wobble or tip, and never use it inside a tent. Campers have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using combustible fuels without ventilation.

Make sure you disconnect the gas as soon as you've finished cooking, and pack the stove and canister away safely. For multi-day camping trips you should clean your stove at camp after each use. If you're only away for one night, you can clean it when you get home. For more advice, see our guide how to use a camping stove.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.