Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
If you love Ontario parks, don't burn them down!

Today’s post comes from Marketing and Communications summer student, Mitch Jackson. His campfire talents include cooking stuffed peppers, grilling chicken, and always forgetting to bring a lighter.

For many campers, fire is essential. Gathering around the flames, sharing stories with friends and family, making marshmallows, and burning marshmallows are all part of the quintessential camping experience.

Although you may have the perfect campfire recipes, or the perfect campfire construction technique, You should also know how to keep your campfire perfectly safe.


During the camping season, Ontario experiences, on average, at least one wildfire each day caused by an unextinguished or unattended campfire. Recreational forest users (including campers) are responsible for 200 forest fires a year. The risk exists with every lit match and every time the lighter is clicked.

The risk is also higher in summer due to the dry climate. Check here if fires are prohibited in your park.

If your campfire starts a wildfire, you may be held responsible for extinguishment costs and/or damages.

So if you love Ontario, don’t burn it down!

family group gathered around a campfire toasting marshmallows.  Owasco RV in the background.  Photographer: Tomoki Onishi

I love bonfires. How can I make sure my fire pit is safe?

It all starts with location. Fortunately, most Ontario Parks campgrounds have designated campfires that provide a safe place to light a fire at your site. You should clear a three-foot space around this hole and remove all pine needles, grasses, leaves, and twigs.

See also  Experience the Colors of Fall RVing in Southeastern Ontario

What happens if I am in the field and there is no moat?

Select a site that is protected from strong winds and has easy access to water. Mountain campers should always have a camp stove and adequate fuel; It is not only a considerate camping practice, but also a safe one. If there is a fire ban, the stove must be designed to use gas, propane or gasoline, and must be able to extinguish the flame using a control valve or by closing the stove.

Photographer: Tomoki Onishi.

How big can my fire be?

By law, your fire cannot be more than one meter high and one meter in diameter. Small fires are safer, easier to control and put out.

But I need a big fire to cook!2016 purchase of photographer Oleksandra Budna

Is not true. A small fire will allow you to get close enough to cook and will also prevent your cookware from blackening. Remember that the heat you want for cooking comes from the embers of the fire.

And of course, the money you save on firewood can go toward more marshmallows!

Now that I have the fire lit, what do I do?

Always remember to have someone watching the fire. Never leave your campfire unattended. If you start a campfire, you are responsible for taking care of it and making sure it stays under control. He’s kind of like your son.

Also, make sure you have a bucket of water and a shovel to control the fire.

Okay, what about my REAL kids?

Photographer: Tomoki Onishi.

While your kids are busy putting marshmallow goop on every camping gear you own, make sure they don’t play with matches and lighters (or Smokey Bear won’t call you friends anymore!).

See also  4 parks in the southeast for your midweek getaway

Also, remind them not to throw or hit lit marshmallows. Blowing on them is a much better tactic.

It’s time to go to bed. I’m exhausted but this fire is still burning.

campfire going outMany of our northern parks, such as Killarney and French River, offer collapsible fire buckets in their stores.

Use the following steps to put out the fire:

  • Pour a lot of water on the campfire.
  • Stir the ashes with a stick.
  • Pour more water on top.
  • Repeat these three steps until:

    • the ashes do not whistle
    • everything looks wet
    • no more smoke comes out of the ashes

    Help protect our beautiful parks!