Tips for Keeping Campfires Safe

Camp Fire

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:
    1. The ashes don’t hiss
    2. Everything looks wet
    3. 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!



  • 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.