Safe Use of Campfires in Designated Sites Will Protect Our Environment and Wildlife and Leave No Trace 

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Anyone who loves the outdoors will no doubt have enjoyed the experience of sitting around a campfire.

But lighting any fire outdoors calls for great responsibility and careful planning. Even relatively small fires can result in widespread damage to vegetation, wildlife, and habitats. All of us have a personal responsibility to take care when it comes to lighting and managing any open-air fires.  

A moment of negligence can result in severe consequences for the environment and wildlife. For example, in one case in Wexford a single disposable BBQ is believed to have caused a wildfire that destroyed 13 acres of sand dune in Curracloe, Co. Wexford. There have been many more instances of extensive damage to gorse, sand dunes and forest areas throughout the country.  

Wildfires are not only hugely destructive but can be costly too. It was estimated that the damage and clean-up of forest fires cost €1.3M in 2020 and the cost of putting out a forest fire in Co. Leitrim and replanting the crop will be at least €500,000. 

Remember to always check with the landowner first whether fires and BBQs are permitted and only light fires in safe, designated areas.  

If a fire is permitted at a designated site make sure you have the skills for setting, using and putting it out safely.  Don’t use disposable BBQs as they scorch natural surfaces and are difficult to extinguish and recycle. A good alternative to open fires and BBQS are camping stoves.   

At Leave No Trace, Ireland we are passionate advocates of the benefits of outdoor recreation but we are also aware of the destructive impact of wildfires.   

As we rediscover the outdoors and staycation post Covid we may find many more opportunities to camp and BBQ in our shared outdoor spaces. By following the Leave No Trace guidelines, we can all enjoy those special times without the destructive and negative consequences that accidental wildfires cause. This way we can all Love This Place, Leave No Trace. 

See our skills and ethics guidance on using campfires and minimising impacts.

Fires in the outdoors