Even where you have previously obtained permission from the landowner to light a campfire, you are obliged to check for forest fire warnings and otherwise ensure your campfire is safe.
Choosing a Suitable Place
- Do not light a fire where the wind could spread dangerous sparks from your campfire.
- Wherever possible, choose a place where campfires have previously been lit, to help limit damage to the terrain.
- Choose a place on sandy ground or gravel if possible.
- Try to choose a site where water is available nearby.
- Avoid peaty or mossy terrain where fires can smoulder for a long time and then suddenly burst into flames again later.
- Also keep fires away from ant-hills and tree stumps.
- Campfires should not be made on bare rock, as this can blacken or crack the rock.
- When making a fire in an area with soil and ground vegetation, carefully cut and roll back the top layer of the soil using a knife or some suitable tool. Remove the top-soil in this way over an area about twice as wide as the fire you intend to make. When you have carefully completely put out your fire, and the ground is no longer hot, replace this top-soil layer carefully as intact as possible.
- For additional safety, you can also wet the bare soil around your campfire with a little water.
Any loose sticks and branches can be collected from the ground as firewood. Do not remove branches from living trees, or lift tree stumps out of the ground. Fallen trees should not be cut up for firewood, as they provide important habitat for many forest plants and animals.
Smaller branches, sticks and chips or splinters cut from dry firewood or resinous wood make the most suitable kindling for lighting a campfire. Collect enough firewood and cut it to suitable size to ensure that you can burn your fire evenly as long as you wish without leaving it unattended. Add firewood carefully to ensure your campfire remains under control.
Take Special Care Putting out the Fire
Extra care must be taken wherever campfires are lit away from the special public campfire sites. When you have finished with the campfire, pour plenty of water over the fire, and also over any top-soil layer you removed beforehand. Also poke the ground beneath the ashes with a suitable object such as a stick to make sure the fire has completely gone out by checking that there is no more smoke rising from the ashes.
Finally roll back the top-soil into place, to make sure you leave no visible trace of your campfire.