Campfires: Rules for Preventing Forest Fires

Legal News

Every year, forest fires ravage thousands of hectares of land in Quebec. There are several forest fires burning right now! Not all fires are caused by people. But you still need to know if you are allowed to make a fire, whether at home or in the great outdoors.

Complete ban

At any time, there may be a complete ban on open-air fires in certain areas of the province. A ban applies to backyards just as to forests. The Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks of Quebec can impose a ban to reduce the risk of forest fires.

To learn whether your area is under a ban, check the website of the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (Quebec society for the prevention of forest fires).

The fine for building a fire in an area under a ban is $500 to $50,000!

In or near a forest

If you’re not affected by a ban, and you want to make a campfire in or near a forest, you must follow the rules of the Forest Protection Regulation:   

  • Clear the place where you’re going to make the campfire by removing all branches, scrub, dry leaves, humus and dead wood from an area large enough to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • Have equipment ready to prevent the fire from spreading and to extinguish it.
  • Don’t leave the area until the fire is completely extinguished.

If you break these rules, the fine is $1,000 to $5,000.

In national parks

If you’re camping in one of the national parks of the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Quebec national parks administration) and there is no ban in effect, you can make a campfire in specifically marked places. If you are camping in one of Park Canada’s national parks, and no ban is in effect, you can make a fire in a designated fire pit, a portable stove, a hibachi or a barbecue.

At home

Before striking a match, check if there’s a complete ban in effect in your area and, if not, whether your municipality allows fires. Each municipality sets its own fire-prevention rules. You should check if any special rules apply. For example, you might need a permit, or a fire might only be allowed in a fireplace.