Colorado Wildfire Prevention Tips & Resources

As Colorado gears up for a busy summer travel season, the state urges people to travel responsibly, especially when it comes to fire prevention.

By: Staff Writer
Updated: February 20, 2024

Colorado’s low humidity has perks, but can create dry, dangerous fire conditions.

Tips & Resources for Colorado Travelers to Help Prevent Wildfires & Protect Our Great Outdoors

  • Keep campfires small and manageable.
  • Never let a fire burn unattended.
  • Properly maintain and watch campfires.
  • Do not build a fire at a site in hazardous, windy or dry conditions. Check to see if campfires are permitted.
  • Do not build a fire if the campground, area or event rules prohibit campfires. Check with the campground or forest representative.
  • Use an existing fire ring or fire pit. If there is not an existing fire pit, and pits are allowed, look for a site that is at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs, trees or other flammable objects. Also beware of low-hanging branches overhead. 
  • Supervise children and pets when they are near fire.
  • Never cut live trees or branches for fires.
  • Fire restrictions and bans are set by local jurisdictions and by individual forest agencies. Check with the local sheriff's office, fire department or the federal forest agency before lighting a campfire this summer.
  • If you think it isn't safe enough to light a campfire, choose to be safe and not start one.
  • Properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes.
  • When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers.

Extinguish Your Campfire Properly by Following These Steps From Smokey Bear & US Forest Service

  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
  • Pour lots of water on the fire — drown all the embers, not just the red ones.
  • Pour until hissing sound stops.
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
  • Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers.
  • Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch.
  • If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Remember: Do not bury the fire, as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

A map of fire restrictions and agency contacts is available here.

Emergency Alerts Is the Best Way for Colorado Travelers to Stay Informed About Wildfires & Other Area Emergencies  

  • Emergency Alerts save lives. Register today for the alerts in the county you are visiting here
  • Follow guidance from alerts sent by the National Weather Service or local officials.
  • Follow COEmergency on Twitter and Facebook for updates on large emergencies within the state.

Other ways to Do Colorado Right