What you should know before you light a bonfire

We all love bonfires and barbecues in the garden or countryside. This page will tell you where and when you can light barbecues and campfires, and what precautions you should take.

What is a general campfire ban?

In spring and summer, the weather tends to be dry. That means an increased risk of forest and heathland fires. For this reason, there is a general campfire ban in place in Norway from 15 April to 15 September. During this period, it is illegal to light a campfire or barbecue (even a disposable barbecue) in or near forests or other open land.

Even though there may be a general campfire ban in place, you are still allowed to light a campfire in certain safe areas from which a major fire cannot spread. These safe areas may include places where there is snow on the ground or areas which have had a lot of rain. You can also have a barbecue on the beach, provided you are well away from trees and vegetation. In addition, you are allowed to have a barbecue in specially designed barbecue and campfire areas approved by the local authority.

You can have a barbecue in your own garden, even during a general campfire ban. Gardens are considered to be cultivated land and are not covered by the ban. Many local authorities also allow you to burn organic garden waste on your own property, provided that you exercise caution. You need to notify your local authority or ask permission from them first. The rules vary from one authority to another. Contact your local fire service.

What is a total campfire ban?

If there is a high risk of forest fires, the fire service can impose a total local ban on any open fires outdoors. In practice, this kind of ban means that it is illegal to have a barbecue or light a campfire in the forest, on other open land or on the beach. It is also illegal to use designated campfire areas when there is a total ban in place. Barbecues in your own garden are generally permitted, provided that you are extremely careful. It is illegal to burn organic garden waste when there is a total ban in place.

Are Midsummer bonfires allowed?

Individual fire services may grant exemptions from the bonfire ban, if you apply in advance. For example, many local authorities give people permission to burn Midsummer bonfires close to the sea or lakes. Always check what rules apply in your local authority before you light a fire.

Tips for a safe fire:

  • Take into consideration weather conditions and the forest fire risk level
  • Whoever lights the fire is always the person who is responsible for fire safety
  • The person responsible for the fire should be an adult who has not been drinking alcohol
  • The fire must be a safe distance from buildings and vegetation
  • You are not allowed to light a fire directly on rock
  • The fire must never get out of your control, and you must always be able to put it out if necessary
  • You should have suitable extinguishing materials readily available 
  • It is illegal to burn plastic, building materials or other waste
  • When you leave the fire, it must be completely out

On the forest fire index at yr.no, you can see whether there is a risk of forest fire in your local area.

Recommended for you