Making a fire
Campfires are an important and enjoyable ritual of outdoor recreation. They are useful for preparing food, and the warmth they provide on a cold winter’s day is most welcome.
Making a campfire in Finland’s national parks is allowed in designated spots if no grass or forest fire warnings are in effect. Most designated camping and picnic sites in the national parks and many other popular outdoor recreation areas include a campfire ring and a woodshed stocked with free-to-use firewood. This generous service comes with some instructions.
In case of a forest fire, the person who lit the fire may be subject to sanctions and liability for damages under the Criminal Code or the Rescue Act. Fishing and hunting supervisors may fine a person who lights an open fire when a forest fire warning has been issued.
- All fires are forbidden when grass or forest fire warnings are in effect. Check local media, at visitor centres, or online at ilmatieteenlaitos.fi to ensure it’s safe to have a campfire.
- When a forest or a grass fire warning is in effect, fire is only allowed at covered campfire sites that have a chimney or flue. A fire can be also lit in fireplaces at wilderness and other huts.
- Always use extreme caution when handling fire. The one who lights the fire is always responsible for its safety. Please note that making a fire at campfire sites can be banned locally.
- The person lighting a fire is always responsible for ensuring fire safety and extinguishing it. It is important to ensure that the campfire has been fully extinguished, as the fire may re-ignite from embers in the ashes. Let the campfire slowly die down until there are only embers left. When the embers are no longer glowing red, pour water, snow or sand into the campfire carefully.
- To ensure that you can always prepare food carry a portable camp stove with you. Portable stoves (excluding hobo stoves) can also be used while the forest fire warning is in force. Use caution when handling flammable liquids. Take special care also when using a hobo stove.
- Please use firewood sparingly. The free-to-use firewood at designated campfire sites is expensive and difficult to transport. The firewood is usually precut but you might need to carefully chop some into kindling with the provided axe or splitter. Birch bark is a good fire starter, and you can usually find some in the woodshed.
- When leaving camp collect all litter. Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be burned on the fire. All other trash, e.g. metal and plastic, must be carried out and properly disposed of in waste or recycle bins. Push aside any unburned firewood and extinguish the fire with a little water, if necessary, before leaving.
- In some wilderness areas in northern Finland and Lapland where hiking and camping is allowed anywhere, you can light a campfire, but again only if no warnings are in effect. If a designated campfire site is available within 500 meters, you must use the site for making a fire and not create a new campfire site. Collecting fallen tree branches and twigs for your fire is fine but cutting or damaging standing trees is forbidden everywhere.
- In all other areas of Finland starting fires is forbidden without the permission of the landowner.