With the May long weekend here, many people are going out camping to enjoy the sun with family and friends. Campfires will be roaring and it's not a bad idea to touch up on some campfire safety.

Cody Zebedee, Chief of Fire and Community Safety for the Town of High River explains some of the precautions that people should be aware of.

"Everybody loves to have a campfire but it's also important to make sure people are paying attention in not leaving campfires unattended, making sure that they have some way of extinguishing the campfire when they are done, or should something change and they need to put it out," Zebedee said.

"A couple of big ones to take into consideration if people are heading out into the backcountry or into other areas is checking for fire bans before they have campfires. There is a great website called albertafirebans.ca. You can actually pull up a map of Alberta and find out what current restrictions in different areas. What you see here in High River may be very different than what's happening in Foothills County and Vulcan County depending on conditions."

While it is important to touch up on the safety of having a campfire in the backcountry, campfires should also be used with caution within the city limits as people do have campfires in their backyards.

"We just ask in town that people are monitoring their campfires and that they are abiding by our bylaws. There is a fire protection bylaw that can be found on the town's website that kind of gives the highlights of what we are looking for to have a safe campfire. A couple pieces of that are having a campfire three meters away from any buildings or structures, making sure it is supervised all the time, that you have the means to extinguishing it, and that the actual campfire itself is built with non-combustible materials like a steel ring, or it could be concrete blocking, something that is nice and solid to contain that fire, and that we have a spark arrestor on it. So, some sort of mesh or material on top to again eliminate the larger sparks coming out from on top of it," he said.

Another thing to keep in mind is what you are using to burn during the campfires, things like leaves and pine needles should be avoided.

"Try to keep grass and leaves away from the fire pit to not cause issues for the fire to spread. Another one is burning clean wood only, we don't want people burning leaves, garbage, yard waste, debris, and things like that," Zebedee said.

"By burning clean and dry wood it again helps limit the smoke that comes out from the campfire, and the problem with pine needles is that they burn they may be lifted out passed the screen and may land in a neighbour's yard causing other problems and causing the fires to spread. Again, just burning that clean, dry wood will eliminate any problems we may have."

When putting out a campfire Zebedee said to remember the rule "Soak it, stir it, and soak it again" as it takes more than just a litre of water to put out the fire and cool of the embers.

"A couple big things I wanted to add about fire pits is campfires are allowed in fire pits, backyards, community campgrounds where there is actual fire pits. There is no open fires allowed in places like Beachwood, the old Mercer property, the Wallaceville properties. We want to make sure people aren't having campfires along the river. That's for obvious reasons, there is a lot of dry vegetation in there, the risk is a lot higher, again there isn't any permanent fire pits that have been installed in those areas," he said.