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The Basics - What to Know


To many, campfires are an essential part of camping. Please note that campfires are sometimes only permitted at certain campsites. If you choose to have a fire, use only designated fire pits or the metal fireboxes provided. Please keep your fire small and under control. Tend to your fire at all times and make sure it is completely extinguished before you leave your campsite.

Never started a campfire before? Watch the following video and you’ll be roasting marshmellows in no time!

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Campfire Quick Tips
  • To light your fire begin with some paper crumpled into balls and then pile small pieces of wood around them to form a “tepee” (Wide at the base leaning into each other at the top)
  • Light the paper and wait for the wood to light.
  • Add more wood as the fire catches. Start with smaller pieces and gradually add larger pieces until your fire is going. Don’t add too much wood too fast – fire needs oxygen to burn!
  • Once it is going, sit back, relax and enjoy!
  • Remember to tend to your fire by adding more wood from time to time

Kids enjoying a campfire
Kids enjoying a campfire
© Parks Canada

While visiting a park, campers are asked to know and follow these fire regulations:

  • Use only designated firewood. In some most national parks, it is illegal to collect and burn wood from the forest in frontcountry campgrounds. Deadwood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals, and it adds organic matter to the soil.
  • Please report fires or suspicious smoke to park staff

NEVER leave your fire unattended. Before you go to bed for the night, or any time you leave your campsite, douse the fire with water and make sure it is out.

Please note that each campground may have additional regulations regarding campfires. It is your responsibility to know and follow them. If you are unsure, just ask our friendly park staff.

Parks Canada Staff Tip

Want to make sure the chocolate in your s’mores melts? Try pre-assembling your s’mores, wrapping it in tin foil and placing it near the fire! (Tip from staff at Georgian Bay Islands National Park)