Responsible Campfire Practices

DF SafetyEnvironmental Hazards

Spring has arrived! As we look forward to Victoria Day and May long weekend, you might be considering your first camping trip of the season. If you are planning to enjoy some time outdoors while enjoying a campfire in the evenings, we want to help ensure you do so safely. Let’s go over some basics of campfire safety. 

One of the best parts of camping is enjoying the campfire in the evenings! If your campsite allows fires, be sure to always have them in designated firepits. When camping in campgrounds or enjoying recreational areas, always use designated stoves, fire rings or fire pits. Since these are designed to help keep fires from spreading, they are the best, and safest choice, to ensure you keep the area protected. 

If you are camping outside of a campground, choose sites that don’t have dry grass, bushes, leaves, branches, tree trunks, peat moss or overhanging branches. Build your campfire on level ground and make sure that it is sheltered from wind. 

“While late winter finally brought some much-needed snow to the province, Northern Alberta was extremely dry with only 30 per cent of average precipitation over a large area…Fort McMurray area experienced its second driest winter in the 105 years that records have been kept, while the Grande Prairie area was the third driest on record.” 

Global News

Ensure the fire is under control and keep a large container of water nearby in case of emergency. Never leave a fire unattended and completely extinguish by letting fire burn down before putting it out. Move the embers around, add water, and stir. If it is still burning, add more water and continue stirring until there is no longer smoke or steam. Continue these steps until your campfire is completely extinguished. When the fire out, you shouldn’t be able to feel any more heat from the ashes. 

“67% of wildfires in Alberta are started by people. If you start a wildfire, you can be charged, fined, and held liable for all costs associated with fighting the wildfire.”

Alberta Wildfire 

Before you depend on a campfire for cooking or as a heat source, always check fire bans or restrictions, and follow them accordingly. Choosing not to follow these rules and regulations can lead to catastrophic and costly consequences. Violation tickets can be issued for non-compliance and ticket amounts range from $360-$1200 per violation including a 20% victim surcharge under the Victims of Crime Act that is automatically applied to each ticket.  

A single spark can lead to complete devastation for communities and surrounding areas.  

It is paramount that we all take the proper precautions, follow fire bans and restrictions, and enjoy campfires safely for the sake of everyone.