What could be better than a camping vacation with a campfire! The feeling of freedom you can experience when camping, whether with a tent, a caravan, or a camper. However, there are some rules to follow when lighting a campfire while camping. In this article, we will show you: 
1. What to watch out for when lighting an open fire on a camping trip. 
2. Where you are not allowed to light a fire.
3. What penalties to expect if you are getting caught lighting a fire illegally.

Safety rules for open fires when camping

In Germany, there is a separate regulation in each federal state, as far as making campfires is concerned. A campfire is often not welcome, and in many places, it is even illegal. Follow the recommendations of the locals and the guidelines of the authorities to avoid trouble. Especially in the dry season, there is an acute danger of fire.

  • No one should be inconvenienced or even endangered by the campfire or by the smoke.
  • If winds prevent control of sparks, do not light a campfire. Do not take any chances.
  • If firepits are already available, you should use them to prevent destroying the landscape.
  • The campfire should only be as large as is necessary for cooking and warming.
  • Clean the firepit of other combustible material beforehand.
  • Use branches already on the ground for fuel. If possible, do not cut down additional branches.
  • Choose the firepit well. It must not be directly under a tree, as the tree could catch fire from the constant heat. In addition, take the direction of the wind and the position of the tent into account. The tent can get burn holes due to flying sparks.
  • Children must not be alone at the campfire.
  • The campfire must be under constant supervision.
  • As a precaution, 20-30 liters of water, sand, or a large wool blanket should always be ready.
  • The campfire can flame up again until the embers have also burned down. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to this and recheck the firepit for safety.
Relaxing in front of the camper
Relaxing in front of the camper
Wild camping with campfire
Wild camping with campfire

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Places where an open campfire is prohibited

As a basic rule, where an open fire is not expressly permitted, it is forbidden. Damage caused by fire or arson can be expensive and entails high penalties and claims for damages. Therefore, you should think carefully about where you make a campfire. As a general rule, you need the landowner's permission to build a campfire, even in public places, such as a riverbank. Use only dry, untreated wood or charcoal for a campfire. Do not light a campfire under any circumstances because of the increased risk of fire in the following areas:

  • in forest and bush areas, keep a distance of at least 100 m from the forest. In addition, register the campfire with the authorities.
  • on other people's property
  • at festivals
  • in hunting regions
  • in public places
  • in nature reserves
  • in nature reserves and landscape conservation areas
  • in national parks
  • in natural monuments
  • in wildlife and water protection areas

Sanctions to be expected in the event of an illegal campfire

If you make a campfire in a place where it is expressly prohibited, it is considered an administrative offense, and you can expect fines of between 25 and 2500 euros. The amount also depends on the size of the campfire and the associated danger. There are no uniform rules in Germany for this, but there are many different regulations. The penalties vary from state to state and can reach an amount of up to 5000 euros. One municipality in Schleswig-Holstein even levies a fine of up to 50000 euros.

Conclusion: A romantic sunset outdoors, a crackling and warming campfire, and a tent under the open starry sky, sounds romantic. It is. But you should think very carefully about where you light your campfire. Since there are many different regulations in Germany regarding the making of fire, one should inquire beforehand and, to be on the safe side, register his campfire best with the authorities. Otherwise, you can expect more or less high fines.

Camping and campfire
Camping and campfire

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