For many people, an evening campfire is the best part of camping.

  • Most Parks Canada campsites have fire pits or metal fireboxes for your campfire. You may only build a campfire in a designated fire pit when camping in a Parks Canada location.
  • Always check if there’s a fire ban
  • Keep your fire small and under control. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Only use firewood provided by the park. In most national parks, it is illegal to collect and burn wood from the forest.
A tended fire is a safe fire! Make sure your fire is completely out before you go to bed at night or leave your campsite. Pour water over the fire to put it out. Alert park staff if you see any suspicious smoke or fire.

How to light a fire

Build a “teepee” shape with paper and kindling. Carefully add bigger piece of wood as the fire starts.
  • Crumple paper into balls and place it in the firepit.
  • Pile kindling around the balls to make a teepee shape
  • Light the paper and wait for the kindling to catch fire.
  • Add bigger pieces of wood. Don’t add too fast! A fire needs oxygen to burn.
  • Once your fire is going, sit back and relax.
  • Add wood to the fire as needed.
  • Always keep a water bucket nearby in case of emergencies, or to douse the fire when you are done. 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 marshmallows in no time!

Learn to Start a Campfire

Transcript Hello! Bonjour! One of the best ways to spend an evening in the campground is by the campfire. This video will guide you on how to safely light and enjoy a campfire. Before you can start your campfire, you’ll need: some paper to get the fire started, kindling – or small pieces of wood that ignite easily, medium sized pieces of wood, larger pieces of wood, and finally make sure you have water nearby to extinguish the fire. Remember; only light a fire in designated fire pits or the metal fireboxes provided. To start, crumple some pieces of paper into loose balls. Newspaper works best. Next pile small pieces of wood around the paper balls to form a “tepee”. Light the paper in different places around the base and wait for the wood to ignite. Once the wood ignites, blow on the fire to feed it oxygen and help it grow. 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 and adding too much too fast might smother it and put it out. Once the fire is going sit back and enjoy! Remember to tend to your fire by adding more wood from time to time but be sure to keep your fire small and under control. 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. Only use designated firewood. In most national parks, it is illegal to collect and burn wood from the forest. Deadwood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals, and it adds organic matter to the soil. 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. For more information on campfires and other camping skills, please visit the “learn to camp” section of our Website, found under “planning your visit”.

This video is also available in the following languages:

Parks Canada staff tip

Want to make sure the chocolate in your s’mores melts? Try pre-assembling your s’mores, wrapping them in tin foil and placing them near the fire!

Georgian Bay Islands National Park staff