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Fire Safety Reminders for Camping Season

As the weather warms up and the camping season begins, we are all eager to spend more time outside. From March 16 through May 14, 2024, the annual New York State Brush Burning Ban is in effect. While campfires are still allowed, we must prioritize fire safety to protect our camping friends and beautiful forest. 

When temperatures increase and we experience windy and dry conditions, fires can easily spread, causing wildfires. Each year, New York State enforces a burn ban to prevent wildfires across the state. During this time, no open burning is permitted. 

Campfire at Rip Van Winkle

For safety’s sake:

  • Use campfire rings.  Don’t move them!
  • Campfires or any open flame must be away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fire.
  • Campfires must be less than 3 feet in height and should not overhang the fire ring. Only charcoal or untreated wood can be used as fuel. A good bed of coals puts off plenty of heat. Scrape away litter and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.  Do NOT build a fire inside a tent or under a shelter.
  • Be sure your match is out. Dip it in water or throw it into the fire.  If you use a lighter, store it away from the fire.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended. Even a small breeze could cause the fire to spread quickly.
  • Douse a fire with dirt or water when you are leaving your site or going to sleep for the night.  
  • Do NOT put hibachi grills on picnic tables.  They burn the tables because the tables are made of wood.  
  • Do not leave citronella candles or any kind of open flame unattended.  If they blow over, they can start a forest fire, even though they are tiny.  


While following the burn ban and safety guidelines may seem like common sense, each year New York State Rangers and firefighters see fires get out of control. Let’s all do our part to enjoy campfires responsibly. We take pride in maintaining a safe environment for our camping friends and thank you for your help in preventing wildfires at Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds!


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