Campfires During a Fire Ban: Propane Fire Pits

By Samantha Lemna | January 21, 2019

With the hot and dry conditions of the last few years leading to a number of devastating wildfires fire bans have been commonplace for campers across BC Alberta and Saskatchewan. From July onwards these bans have left everyone looking for a solution to safely enjoy a campfire experience. The solution? The propane fire pit.

Fire Bans

There are five levels of fire bans in Alberta according to Alberta Wildfire :

  • No Restriction: safe campgrounds are allowed in campgrounds backcountry and random camping areas.

  • Fire Advisory: safe campgrounds are allowed in campgrounds backcountry and random camping areas but they may be restricted soon and there is an increased risk of fire.

  • Fire Restriction: campfires are allowed in fire rings in campgrounds only – no campfires or charcoal briquettes are allowed in backcountry or random camping areas.

  • Fire Ban: no campfires or charcoal briquettes are allowed in campgrounds backcountry or random camping areas.

  • Forest Area Closure: such is the fire danger that portions of the forest are closed and no access is permitted.

You can continue to use gas or propane stoves barbeque and propane fire pits – which is why these are the perfect solution to your cooking and campfire needs when you’re camping during a fire ban.

Buying a Propane Fire Pit

There are many different kinds of propane fire pits at different price points. They come in a variety of sizes and have a variety of features. At the very least you’ll want to ensure your propane fire pit is:

  • Portable – so you can use it for camping

  • CSA approved or UL certified – the product has been tested and meets safety standards in Canada or the US respectively

You’ll also want to consider the following:

  • Size (most seem to be about 19 inches or 48 centimetres in diameter but some are under 12 inches or 30 centimetres)

  • Ignition (automatic or manual)

  • Heat output

  • Fake logs or lava rocks

  • Carrying case (is there one included or available?)

  • Warranty

  • Price

Propane fire pits will come with a hose but you’ll likely need to purchase the propane tank separately. Most use the standard 20-pound tank (the kind you buy for your home barbeque and likely already bring with your trailer).

You can buy propane fire pits at many stores and online (including Amazon). These items can be seasonal and can sell out quickly – my recommendation is to buy one at the beginning of the season if you plan to camp in mid- to late-summer. Retailers such as Costco Canadian Tire and others will bring them in with the rest of their camping gear although some will carry them year round.

Using Your Propane Fire Pit

It goes without saying to read the manual and operate the fire pit carefully.

Remember to keep the propane tank far from the fire pit. Use the full length of the hose that comes with your purchase! Also never use your propane fire pit indoors including in your RV. They spew carbon monoxide which can kill you. Only use one outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Keeping a fire extinguisher within easy reach is also a good idea.

Remember that normal fire safety rules apply – no running by the fire and never leave it unattended.