5 tips for campfire safety that all campers should observe

Handling a camping fire must be done responsibly. It must be made, maintained and extinguished correctly to avoid any dangers.

from Martin Gebhardt | Camping | reading time 1 Min
Updated on 25 September 2023 6.371 views 100% found this guide helpful
5 tips for campfire safety that all campers should observe

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Find out about the fire regulations of the campsite and respect the rules.
  • Use existing fire pits or create a safe fire pit away from branches and power lines.
  • Light the campfire with matches without using flammable liquids.
  • Use only native firewood to avoid introducing diseases and pests.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, or shovel ready to quickly extinguish the fire if needed.
  • Maintain a safety distance of at least three meters around the fire pit.

A camping trip is only complete with a blazing campfire.

The warmth of the fire and the soothing sounds it makes transport you to a whole new world.

But a campfire must be handled responsibly - it must be done, maintained, and extinguished properly to avoid dangers.

Follow these 5 safety tips for a campfire to have fun and stay safe outdoors:

Follow the rules of the storage space

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Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

Before you start a campfire, check with the rangers about the campground's fire regulations.

These rules are constantly changing - sometimes there is a temporary ban, especially when the risk of forest fires is high.

Pay attention to the signs and ask the campsite staff about the current rules for campfires.

Using and Building Fire Pits

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Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

If the campsite has a built-in fire pit, this is the only place where you should make your fire.

Before lighting a match, you must clear the pit of any debris.

If you live in a more remote location and there are no fire pits available (but campfires are allowed), you can make a fire by digging a shallow hole in the ground and lining it with stones.

Make sure not to set up your campfire near low-hanging branches and power lines.

To prevent accidents, a radius of three meters around the fire pit should be kept clear.

Start and ignite safely

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Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

When the wood is ready, it's time to light the campfire.

Use a match for this, but never use flammable liquids like gas, kerosene, or lighter fluid.

Make sure the match is completely extinguished before you throw it away. It's best to throw it into your campfire to be safe.

Don't bring your firewood

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Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

To start the fire, you should only use local firewood (which you can buy at the campsite or nearby stores).

If you bring firewood from home, for example from a place 8 hours away, you could introduce diseases and tree-damaging insects that could destroy the ecosystem of the campsite.

Keep a fire extinguisher ready

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Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

Once the campfire is burning, sparks and bursts of flame can be expected.

Keep all individuals at a safe distance and have a bucket of water nearby.

You can also use a shovel to throw dirt or sand onto the flames to contain them.

Or you could try watering the ground a few meters outside the pit to extinguish any flames that may immediately jump out.

Do you want to make packing for your next camping trip easier? Read: Checklist: What should you not forget when camping? (+Packing list as PDF)


Here is a summary of key points in tabular form:

Rule Explanation
Follow the campsite's fire rules Find out about the current rules for campfires in advance.
Use existing fire pits If available, only make your fire in designated fire pits.
Build your own fire pit safely Build a fire pit with stones and soil, far away from trees and power lines.
Light cautiously Use matches, not flammable liquids. Extinguish matches before discarding them.
Use only local firewood Don't bring wood from afar to avoid pests.
Have extinguishing agents ready Keep water and fire extinguishers close at hand for emergencies.

Follow these simple safety tips for your campfire to operate it safely and professionally.

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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