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Garpyttan Guide:
Fire saftey

Campfire is an important part of our outdoor life,
but it's crucial to stay informed

Campfire is an important part of our outdoor life,
but it's crucial to stay informed

The Right of Public Access doesn't grant an automatic right to make a fire. However, you are allowed to have a fire in most places in the country, as long as you are careful and ensure that the fire doesn't pose a risk of spreading or harming animals and plants.

Check the risk of fire

Is it allowed to make a fire in the open here, right now? It's not always clear-cut. During dry weather, the County Administrative Board or the municipality's fire department may issue temporary fire bans. If you are in a national park or nature reserve, there may be a permanent ban or specific guidelines. You can usually find current information on the municipality's or County Administrative Board's website. Campsites and tourist offices can also provide information about the fire risk, as well as on-site notices if you are in a protected area. Basic guidelines and tips for making fires in nature can be found on  naturvardsverket.se and msb.se.

Choose the right base

Choose a location for the fire where there is no risk of it spreading or damaging the ground and plants. Gravel or sandy ground is suitable – moss, peat, and earthy forest ground are less ideal. Not only is there a risk of the fire spreading, but it can also smolder in the ground and flare up later. Do not make a fire directly on or right next to rocky outcrops or large boulders. They can easily crack and develop wounds that never heal.

Create a boundary around the fire pit by digging up gravel or placing stones or a line of soil around the fire, and keep it small.

Check the wind direction before you start the fire. The wind can carry sparks into the forest or dry grass, which can then ignite a fire. If it's blowing hard, you shouldn't make a fire at all, as the risk of spreading is unnecessarily high.

Avoid making unnecessarily large fires. They require more fuel and are harder to control. It also becomes more challenging to heat food and dry clothes. Small fires are always more efficient and useful; you can sit closer to the fire and have better control."

Spare living trees

Collect fallen cones and loose sticks and branches from the ground as firewood. It's not allowed to chop or saw down trees or shrubs or to take twigs, branches, or bark from living trees. It's also not allowed to use windfall as firewood.

Before starting a fire, you need to have a plan for how to extinguish it. Water is, of course, the safest – if you have access to a lot of water, it's good to wet the ground around the fire in advance to prevent it from spreading. Spruce twigs – preferably damp – are better to have on hand than deciduous twigs if the fire were to spread. Press the twigs against the flames instead of whipping, to reduce the risk of spreading sparks.

Extinguish, extinguish, extinguish

Let the fire burn completely, then pour water thoroughly and stir to extinguish the embers. Separate the stones you've placed around the fire to help them cool down faster.

Dig up the ground beneath the ashes until there are no embers or smoke left to prevent the fire from flaring up again after you've left the area. And a little extra water, just to be on the safe side.

Conclusion

During periods of dry weather and high fire risk, the County Administrative Board or the municipal fire department may issue fire bans. During a fire ban, all open fires are prohibited, including fires in prepared fire pits. However, in most cases, you can still use charcoal grills or small field kitchens with an open flame if you are cautious. In some extreme cases, fire bans may also apply to such equipment.

You can find useful information and links on naturvardsverket.se and msb.se.

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