Campfire Safety - How to choose a spot for a campfire

Where to build a campfire - tips on choosing the right campfire location

When you go camping, for many, a campfire is a must!   It completes the whole outdoor experience, and in winter, provides a source of warmth and comfort on those chilly nights.

If your campsite has a firepit already created, then you are in luck.   You can build a fire without too much thought.    But what if there is no firepit already in place, and you need to make your own?

What are some things you need to think about?   

We list what you need to do to get that campfire created, and created safely.

how to choose a spot to build a campfire

Number one rule to remember:

Check that fires are even allowed or there is not a fireban in place before proceeding to the next steps.    Only when you are 100% sure you can have a fire, then think about where to have the firepit.

In windy and dry conditions,  do not light a campfire.

Choosing your campfire location:

  • Find a clearing that has no grass (or minimal grass).    

  • Look up.    Check that there are no overhanging branches.

  • Make sure there is not fuel for your fire close by   eg.  sticks, old decaying leaves, scrub.  You want a clear area.   Your camping gear needs to be away from the campfire by at least 15 foot/4.5 meters.

  • Choose a spot that is protected (if possible) from high winds and downwind from your camping shelter.

  • Look for large stones/rocks to surround the fire, and create an enclosed firepit.

  • If there are no large stones around, you can dig a small trench (eg. about 30cm deep) to build the fire in.  This will keep the fire in an enclosed area and minimise embers flying out.

how to choose a campfire location

And then you are ready to make the campfire itself.

When you leave your campsite, leave that ring of rocks for the next campers, so they can benefit from your excellent preparation of a campfire, and to indicate that is where they should have their campfire (and not to create another one).

To find out how to put out a campfire safely, read our story.