Be Firewise!

Have a Safe, Responsible Campfire

Ensure your campfire has minimal impact. If a campfire is important to you:

  • Ask rangers about pertinent regulations and campfire management techniques.
  • Judge the wind, weather, location, and wood availability. Decide whether it’s safe and responsible to build a campfire.
  • Where there are no fire rings or grates, bring a fire pan or set aside time to build a mound fire.
  • Have a container for dousing the ashes with water.
  • Keep the fire small. Small fires consume fewer resources and leave less impact, but they still provide a cozy social atmosphere desired by campfire devotees.

Know Fire Restrictions

High altitudes are susceptible to wood that burns hot and fast. The wet environment can also be very dry in the summer months. Know what the fire restrictions are in your camping destination before thinking of starting a fire.

Find San Juan National Forest fire restrictions here.

Find city/county fire restrictions here.

Where Can You Have a Fire?

There are best practices for how to safely have a fire once you know there are no fire restrictions in place.

  • Look for fire rings at your camp. Use an established fire ring or grate
  • Use a stove to cook food instead of a fire
  • If you do not bring your own firewood, look for dead and downed wood
  • Ensure there is sufficient time to prepare the fire site
  • Burn all the wood to cold ash and clean up

Other Options Instead of a Fire

Fire pans are metal oil pans or aluminum roasting pans that make good containers for low-impact fires. They can be purchased at any outdoor retailer or online. 

Propane grills are another option to consider. They offer much more flame containment when used properly. Travel grills and Jetboils are great options for backcountry, low-impact cooking, and heat.

Additional Guidelines

Fire Rules to Live By:

Manage your campfire. No matter which fire-building technique you employ, the following guidelines will ensure that your fire is safe and leaves as little impact as possible:

  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Don’t try to burn trash, leftover food, or other garbage that would have to be removed later.
  • Burn the wood completely to ash: Stop feeding the fire and give yourself an hour or more to add all the unburned stick ends.
  • Saturate the ash with water. Make sure it’s cool to the touch and remove any trash.
  • Restore the appearance of the fire site. 
Be Firewise During Your Visit!


Pledge to Be a Responsible Traveler

And enter to win a return trip to Durango!

Your good deeds could earn you a Durango dream vacation, including lodging, dining, and activities. Sign the Care for Durango pledge to be a responsible traveler during your visit and you will be entered to win a return trip to Durango!

Take the Pledge!

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