Have A Safe Campfire During A Fire Ban

It doesn't matter if you are in your backyard or deep in the backcountry, there really is nothing quite like a campfire. It keeps you warm, provides light, a place to cook a delicious meal, and is a great place to share stories of the day.

If you live in an area that gets tinder-dry during certain parts of the year, you're probably all too familiar with what “Fire Bans” and “Fire Restrictions” are, and what they mean for your long-planned camping trips. How then, are you able to have a safe campfire during a fire ban?

Usually, these bans restrict what is considered an “open fire”, consisting of a solid fuel such as charcoal or wood. If you get caught having an “open fire” during a fire ban, you can face some serious fines and penalties, and even be on the hook for all the costs associated with fighting a wildfire that you caused.

campfire during fire ban

There is some good news, though: In most US states and Canadian provinces, fires fueled by liquid gas are exempt from fire bans and restrictions (Canadian restrictions are usually more involved, see below). Unless conditions are extreme, the use of portable stoves or portable campfire apparatuses are allowed during fire restrictions. This way, you can still get that real camping experience, without hurting the forest around you.

campfire during fire ban

In most Canadian provinces, in order to be legal for use during fire restrictions, your portable campfire apparatus MUST:

  1. Burns liquid or gaseous fuel designed to provide ambiance and heat.
  2. Must be CSA or ULC approved (appropriate stickers or label must be on unit)
  3. Flame length must not exceed 15 centimeters / 6 inches

When using the campfire apparatus, you are required to:

  • ƒ Operate the apparatus as specified by the manufacturer
  • ƒ Take reasonable precautions to ensure the fire is contained
  • ƒ Take immediate action to carry out fire control and report the fire if it does escape
  • ƒ Turn the unit off when not attended

If a device is placed on the ground you must:

  • ƒ Place the unit on mineral, soil, gravel, sand or a non-combustible surface (many areas additionally require raised fire pits)
  • ƒ Maintain an adequate fire guard around the device, free of flammable materials.

Want to know more about current Canadian bans in or restrictions near you? Visit the Fire Prohibitions and Area Restrictions page of the Ministry of Forests Wildfire Management Branch today!

Keep in mind, you need to do your homework with this one. Many commercially available propane campfires are NOT CSA or ULC approved, and are not fully adjustable (remember, you have to be able to adjust the flame height to comply with the law here in Canada). So it's really important to do your homework when purchasing a portable propane campfire, to make sure it is appropriate to use during a fire ban.

A very helpful resource to help you find the perfect portable propane campfire is Campfire Compare! This site has 9 of the top brands and looks at 10 features that you should consider when purchasing (such as the CSA/ULC approval), and is a great place to start doing your homework.

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