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State Fire Marshal Urges Caution With Summer Camp Fires

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(Columbus – As the summer weather heats up, Ohioans will enjoy grilling, camping, and connecting with nature. However, with the hot and dry conditions comes increase risk for wildfires, so it is essential to prioritize safety when engaging in outdoor activities involving fire. The responsible use of fire ensures that everyone can enjoy their experience while minimizing the risk of accidents or harm to people, wildlife, and the environment.

“Fire safety is a critical component of any outdoor experience.”  Said Kevin Reardon, State Fire Marshal. “By respecting local regulations, having water and fire extinguishing equipment nearby, and staying vigilant, we can create a safe environment for ourselves, our family and friends, and the natural beauty that surrounds us.”

To promote fire safety outdoors, experts advise the following guidelines:

  • Choose designated fire pits: When camping, use established fire rings or pits whenever possible. These designated areas are designed to contain the fire and reduce the risk of spreading.
  • Clear the surroundings: Ensure that the fire pit or grill is positioned in an open area, away from overhanging branches, dry grass, or flammable objects. Clear the immediate surroundings to create a safe zone.
  • Never leave unattended fires: It is crucial to always supervise fires, whether they are used for grilling or warmth during camping. Never leave fires unattended, and always fully extinguish them before leaving the area.
  • Keep water and fire extinguishing equipment nearby: Have a water source, such as a bucket or hose, within reach to quickly extinguish the fire if needed. Additionally, having a fire extinguisher nearby is highly recommended.
  • Respect local regulations: Familiarize yourself with local fire safety regulations and any restrictions on open fires or grilling. Observe these guidelines to protect yourself, others, and the environment.

“We want to make people aware that fires are deadly. They are not just dangerous, they are deadly and even though you may feel you are containing the fire, that’s not always the case, especially if a wind kicks up. They are very easy to get out of control,” said Anita Metheny, Fire Prevention Bureau Chief with the Division of State Fire Marshal. 

Through education and responsible practices, Ohioans can ensure that grilling, camping, and outdoor adventures continue to be enjoyable experiences for everyone. A new episode of the Ohio Department of Commerce’s podcast “Protecting What Matters” addresses the topic in “Don’t Let Your World Go Up in Smoke – Keeping You Safe Outdoors” discussing outdoor burning laws and fire safety at this link

To find more fire prevention resources, visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at