What would camping be without a good campfire? That’s where all the action happens, the drinks, the grilling of hamburgers and hotdogs and of course the spooky ghost stories. I would say that anyone who has been camping, that their best memories are sitting around a fire. However, those memories could quickly change from the best to the worst if your campfire gets away from you. Here’s a quick overview of camp fire safety to keep those memories, great ones.
First check the fire bans and follow them. They are not suggestions and you can be fined for not complying. Next, make sure you can have a fire at your campsite. Almost all parks in Canada that allow fires will supply the pit or firebox. These are the only places you can make a fire. Please note, you cannot 4×4 into the woods, find a random spot and build a fire. However where fires are allowed, clear the area where your fire will be. If there is no pit, use bare ground. Clear a 3 meter area around the fire from all debris. Always have water, sand and a shovel close by. Only let a competent adult start the fire. I say “competent” because you don’t want party animal Pete (who’s been drinking for several hours) starting the fire with a can of hairspray and a jerry can of gas. A competent adult should also be in charge of supervising the fire. Always extinguish the fire before leaving your campsite or going to bed. I know it sounds so cozy to sleep in your tent while a fire crackles away, but that fire can get out of hand very easily.
According to Alberta wildfires there are approximately 1500 wildfires in Alberta a year and 64% of them are human caused. In B.C. according to the Government of British Columbia the average is 1666 with 57.3% caused by humans. These fires cost millions; sometimes even billions, like the fire in Fort McMurray in 2016, not to mention the cost of human life. So, please enjoy a fire while camping but do so safely.