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.
Smoking and Fire Safety
- If you smoke, put it out. All the way. Every time.
- When you smoke outside, discard cigarettes and ashes in an unburnable (and unmeltable) can filled with sand and never throw cigarettes on the ground.
- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out before throwing them in the trash can. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
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 Wildfire's online Wildfire Status Map Wildfire Status Map.