Prevention When camping

Bonfires are a potential hazard in forests. Consult the SOPFEU recommendations before starting a fire; they include choosing the site to ensuring there are no hot spots left.

What are the steps to follow in order to safely make a fire?

Campfires are the cause of numerous forest fires every year. Follow these steps to fully and safely enjoy your fire.

  1. PERPARE an open area on mineral soil, away from any combustible material (leaves, grass and so on).
  2. BUILD a fire no larger than 1 metre by 1 metre in size.
  3. KEEP AN EYE on the fire and have water at hand at all times.
  4. PUT OUT the fire by dousing the site thoroughly and stirring the embers.
  5. ENSURE that embers are cold to the touch.

Keep in mind! A fire will not go out on its own. Hot embers can be reignited by the wind.
Tips from the pros! Do not hesitate to touch the ashes to make sure that the fire is out. If you are unsure, pour more water on the fire!
What is an “open-air fire”?

Any fire burning freely or that can freely spread. Examples of open-air fires are fireworks and flame and spark producing tools (such as welding tools).

Fires burning in facilities intended for this purpose and equipped with spark arrestor screens, such as stoves, fireplaces, and metal containers, are not considered to be open-air fires. In order to comply with prevailing standards, spark arrestor openings must be no wider than 1 centimetre.

Are fires banned when fire danger rating is extreme?

The SOPFEU and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs do not systematically issue a ban on open fires when the fire danger is extreme. However, an extreme danger rating indicates a strong probability that a fire burning under these conditions would ignite, spread rapidly, and become uncontrollable.

Such conditions call for greater prudence and vigilance. In this case, campfires, discarded cigarette butts, fireworks, and off-trail ATVs are a hazard in forest areas.

Keep in mind! A number of municipalities and campsites ban fires when the fire danger is high. Be sure to consult the applicable regulations before making a fire.
Tips from the pros! Download the SOPFEU mobile app (available for iOS and Android) to get automatic alerts when the fire danger rating in your area exceeds “high.”
What does “proximity to the forest” mean?

It is difficult to establish a specific distance because the risk of fire spreading is related to a number of factors, including weather conditions, the time of day, and the type of fuel.

In addition, these factors are in turn influenced by the seasons. In spring, for example, extra vigilance is needed. Surface fuel, composed of dry grasses, twigs, and moss, is easily ignited and it can make the fire spread to the surrounding forest areas.