Camping and Fire Safety

Camping is a favorite summer pastime for many families. Whether camping in a tent, trailer, or RV, fire safety should be a key component of your planning.


  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDAFS), four out of five forest fires are started by people.
  • In 2000, one out of every five person-caused wildfire was started by a campfire that got out-of-control, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
  • In 2002, more than 6.9 million acres of land burned as a result of wildfires.Fun and Safety Can Go Hand-in-Hand

From singing songs to toasting marshmallows, a campfire is a key element of the camping experience. Before heading out on your camping adventure, take time to learn how to build,control and extinguish campfires and review other fire safety precautions.


  • Before building a campfire, check with rangers or the campground office for restrictions,especially during the summer when vegetation is dry and campfires may be restricted.
  • Look for signs that warn of potential fire hazards in national parks and private campgrounds. Always obey park regulations.
  • If campfires are permitted, select a location that is downwind and away from your tent.Clear all vegetation and dig a small pit surrounded by rocks.
  • Never use gasoline to start a campfire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and do not allow children to play near or around a campfire. Always put campfires out before sleeping or leaving the campsite.
  • Keep dirt and/or water nearby to extinguish the campfire before sleeping. For emergency use, pack a fire extinguisher with your camping gear. Select a multi-purpose extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Use only battery operated camping equipment, such as flashlights or lanterns inside the tent. Never use liquid-filled heaters or lanterns, matches, candles, open flames or a barbeque grill inside a tent as they can produce the deadly gas, carbon monoxide.
  • When cooking, keep a fire extinguisher within reach. Use a fire extinguisher when a fire is small and contained and only after the park ranger has been notified of the fire.
  • Do not discard lit cigarettes or matches on the ground or into vegetation. Dry vegetation can be quickly sparked into a fire