Campfire safety

How to choose your campfire site, prepare your campfire and properly extinguish it when you are done.

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Prevention and mitigation

Report a wildfire: If you see a wildfire in a forested area call 310-FIRE (3473)

You do not need a fire permit to have a campfire in the Forest Protection Area.

Choose your site

  • In campgrounds or recreational areas, use the designated stoves, fire rings or fire pits. These are designed to keep fires from spreading and are the best choice for a safe campfire.
  • When outside of a campground, use sites that are clear of:
    • dry grass
    • bushes
    • leaves
    • branches
    • tree trunks
    • peat moss
    • overhanging branches
  • If a site has already been used for a campfire, use the same site.
  • Build your campfire on level ground that is sheltered from wind.
  • If you cannot build your fire near a water source, have a large container of water nearby to keep your campfire under control.

For more information, see Safe campfires: Wildfire prevention tips.

Prepare your campfire

Tools needed

  • a shovel or spade
  • an axe or hatchet
  • enough water to fully extinguish your campfire

Backcountry or sites without a fire ring

In the backcountry or where there is no dedicated fire ring:

  • make a circle about one metre around
  • dig or scrape down to the mineral soil
  • clear away any flammable materials within one metre of the pit

Extinguish your campfire

Soak it. Stir it. Soak it again.

  • Let the fire burn down before you plan on putting it out. Spread the embers within the fire pit, then add water or loose dirt, and stir.
  • Expose any material still burning. Add more water and stir again until you can no longer see smoke or steam. Do not bury your fire as the embers may continue to smoulder and can re-emerge as a wildfire.
  • Repeat until your campfire is cool to the touch.
  • If your fire is out, you should not be able to feel any heat from the ashes.

Safe campfires: Wildfire prevention tips

Winter campfires

Many winter wildfires start as abandoned campfires. With below average rain and snow, the top several inches of the ground can be very dry.

  • A fire left smouldering can dig deep into the ground as it burns organic matter. Often these fires are quite large by the time they are discovered, and can be difficult to extinguish.
  • Never assume that rain or snow will put your fire out.
  • Always follow the same steps to extinguish a fire: soak it, stir it, soak it again.