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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.

Colorado Forests
Colorado Forests

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

Below are tips and resources for Colorado travelers to help prevent wildfires and 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 and 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 and 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.


Find other ways to care for Colorado >>