Open campfires must be used wisely. Even a small campfire can potentially become a dangerous and unmanageable wildfire. A safe fire starts with your fire site.
- Use the stove, ring or pit provided for a fire. These fire facilities are located and designed to prevent a campfire from spreading to nearby forest cover.
- We recommend that backcountry travelers use camp stoves.
- Backpacking stoves are lightweight, compact, efficient and more convenient than wood fires.
- These stoves leave no scars in the backcountry.
- A camp stove becoming inoperative or an emergency may make a wood fire necessary. If you are camping where fire facilities are not provided, exercise caution in selecting a fire site, preparing the campfire and putting the fire out.
- If a previous fire pit exists, use it to avoid creating a new fire scar.
- Never build a fire on mossy areas, dead logs or tree roots.
- Select a site on level ground that is sheltered from high wind and well away from heavy brush, live trees and overhanging branches.
- Ensure there is a convenient source of water nearby for extinguishing the fire.
- Dig up a square piece of sod, roughly 45 cm x 60 cm. Keeping it as intact as possible, lay it to one side.
- Remove the remaining topsoil down to mineral soil (which has no organic material). Pile the topsoil nearby. Make one end of the pit slightly deeper to accommodate cooking waste.
- Use only dead wood found lying on the ground. Dry areas under large conifers are good spots to find kindling material.
- Never use gasoline or lighter fluid to start your fire.
- Keep your fire as small as needed for cooking and warmth.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Stop adding fuel well before you plan to put the fire out.
To Put a Fire Out
- Thoroughly soak the entire fire pit with water.
- Scrape all charred ground at the pit's edge toward the center, cutting out any charred root ends.
- Heap the mixture of ashes and soil into the centre of the pit and soak with water.
- To determine if the fire is completely extinguished, carefully place your fingers into the fire pit.
- Sprinkle water on top to give the vegetation a boost.
- Replace the soil and section of sod.
Alberta Parks uses a system of fire hazard levels from 1-4 (Low to Extreme).
- To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (3473) toll-free from anywhere in Alberta.
- Check Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development's online Wildfire Status Map.