How To Keep Your Campfire from Becoming a Wildfire

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Did you know that recreation is one of the main causes of wildfires each year in Alberta? About 70 per cent of wildfires over the last five years have been linked to human activity.

Wildfire protection has been strengthened with new regulations. If you leave a site within the Forest Protection Area without fully extinguishing your campfire, you can now face a fine of $287 (you can learn more about the fines by clicking here).

Here is what you can do to help prevent wildfires:

Getting Started

Before heading out to enjoy a campfire, check AlbertaFireBans.ca to ensure that campfires are permitted in your area.

Selecting the Best Site Possible

  • If you are at a campground, use the designated stoves, rings and fire pits. They are designed to keep fires from spreading and are the best choice for a safe campfire.
  • Avoid using sites that have dry grass, heavy bushes, leaves, logs, peat areas or overhanging branches.
  • Build your campfire on level ground that is sheltered from the wind. A breeze can carry sparks from your fire to flammable material nearby.

Preparing Your Site: Outside a Designated Campground

  • Be sure to have the following tools with you: a shovel, an axe or hatchet and a large container of water with enough water to fully extinguish your campfire.
  • Prepare your site; make a circular fire pit by digging or scraping down to the soil in an area that is one metre wide. Rocks may be used to mark the edge of the fire pit. Clear away any flammable materials within a metre of the outside edge of your fire pit.

 Extinguishing Your Campfire

  • When you’re finished with the campfire, make sure you properly extinguish it. First, let the fire burn down well before you plan to put it out. Next, spread the embers inside the fire pit. Be careful to keep the embers within the fire pit. Add water or loose dirt to the fire pit and stir it around.
  • Dig around the fire pit and expose any material that is still burning before adding more water or loose dirt. Continue until you no longer see smoke or steam rising from the pit.
  • Don’t just bury your fire and leave it – embers will continue to smolder underground and can re-emerge as a wildfire.
  • Your campfire is fully extinguished when its ashes are cool to the touch.

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Remember to always check AlbertaFireBans.ca before heading out camping to see if there are any fire advisories, restrictions or bans in your area.

To report a wildfire, please dial 310-FIRE.

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