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Tips for Keeping Campfires Safe

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Tips for Keeping Campfires Safe

Sitting around a campfire with family and friends can be a great way to enjoy Ontario's beautiful outdoors.

Here are some tips on how to keep your campfires safe.

Choosing a site

  • Pick a site that is close to a water source and sheltered from the wind
  • Build your fire on a rock surface or bare dirt
  • Build the fire at least three metres away from logs, stumps, trees and overhanging branches
  • Make sure the fire is 15 metres away from buildings or tents.

Preparing the site

  • Clear a space about two metres wide
  • Remove pine needles, grass, leaves and twigs
  • Ensure you have a pail of water and a shovel to control the fire.

Building your campfire

  • Keep the fire smaller than one metre high and one metre wide
  • Small fires are safer, easier to control and easier to put out
  • A small fire will also keep cooking tools from blackening and let you get close enough to cook.

Stay nearby

  • Never leave a campfire unattended
  • If you start a campfire, make sure you keep it under control and put it out before you leave.

Putting the fire out

  • Use the following steps to put out your fire:
    1. Pour lots of water on the campfire
    2. Stir the ashes with a stick
    3. Pour on more water.
  • Repeat these three steps until:
    • The ashes don't hiss
    • Everything looks wet
    • No more smoke comes from the ashes.

Fire safety tips for kids

  • Always have an adult supervise when you're around a fire
  • Never play with matches or fireworks
  • If you see a fire burning with no people near it, tell an adult immediately.

One last tip – don't forget the S'mores!

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, 61.3 per cent of forest fires in Ontario were caused by humans.
  • During the camping season, Ontario experiences an average of at least one wildfire every day caused by an unextinguished or unattended campfire.
  • On average, over 200 wildfires are started every year by people participating in recreational activities in forested areas.

Additional Resources


“Following simple steps for building, tending and putting campfires out can help save the beautiful natural resources that are abundant in Ontario. I urge you to be responsible while you’re enjoying your campfires this summer.”

Bill Mauro

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

Media Contacts

  • Media calls only: Todd Lane

    Minister’s Office


  • Media calls only: Media Desk

    Communications Services Branch




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