Can I or Can't I? Having A Campfire During A Fireban

For most campers, a campfire is camping, and there really is no way around it. Staring into a campfire floods you with memories of times spent with family sharing stories, singing songs or roasting marshmallows.

friends gathered around the campfire

Come the summertime, whether they are private campgrounds or RV parks, provincial/state parks, recreation sites (forestry sites), or national parks, most allow campfires unless there is a fire restriction brought on by prolonged dry hot conditions. With the warm weather happening each year earlier and earlier, it sometimes feels like we're always hearing the word "fireban" mentioned when planning our camping trips.

What to do during campfire restrictions & bans

Well, a wood fire is out of the question. Wood fires have sparks and embers that can float great distances and cause forest fires in tinder dry areas. If you are caught with a wood fire, chances are good that you'll face a hefty fine - or worse - be held responsible for any damages done by a forest fire you caused. Better to err on the side of safety with this one.

So what are your options?

When there is a fire restriction campers can still enjoy an authentic campfire experience by using a portable campfire device that is CSA or ULC approved, as a safe alternative. The flame length of portable campfires should not exceed 15 centimetres (6 inches). Portable campfires are spark and smoke free and provide campers with comfort and heat. Many include a cooking rack allowing campers to make cowboy coffee or cook with a skillet.

propane campfire in a can

Portable campfires can be purchased at local hardware, camping or RV retailers, and online retailers. Some campgrounds including many Provincial/State Parks and Private Campgrounds even rent propane campfires for camper use. Please note though, that when conditions warrant, portable campfire and stove devices may be further restricted or even prohibited. For more information on local conditions, or on acceptable portable stove and campfire devices, click here.

Remember, when looking for a propane campfire, make sure that it:

  1. Burns liquid or gaseous fuel designed to provide ambiance and heat.
  2. Is CSA or ULC approved (appropriate stickers or label must be on unit). 
  3. Is fully adjustable. Campfire bans require that flame length 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

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

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