Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Should RV parks offer ‘No campfire’ zones?

KOA in Missoula, Montana

With campgrounds increasingly packed with RVers and other campers into ever-smaller campsites to accommodate them, do you believe that areas in the parks should be offered where campfires are not allowed?

Many readers have reported that they are allergic to smoke, and studies show that inhaling it is not healthy.

Long ago, hotels, restaurants and other public places banned cigarette smoking, except in certain designated areas. Is it time for the RV industry to follow suit with “No Campfire Zones?”

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Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Fred (@guest_24204)
5 years ago

Most camp grounds have a camp host whose job is to control and service common areas. Camp host should control camp fires and educate in proper RV edicate.

McCool (@guest_23333)
5 years ago

A couple of summers ago, we spent three months as campground hosts at the Grand Canyon Mather Campground (374 sites). It was like living in a forest fire. We could never escape the cloud and smell of smoke. Won’t do that again!

DK (@guest_23130)
5 years ago

If you are in a tent I suppose a open fire is ok but I really think it’s a very bad idea in an RV park where my 200k motorhome with 100 gallons of fuel is within 10 feet of a open fire. Nope NO camp fires in an RV park or any place where it’s next to a motorized vehicle.

Jay French (@guest_23157)
5 years ago
Reply to  DK

10 feet separation from camps ?
Bro, y’all are staying in glorified parking lots.
The only type of way-too-close type here in Louisiana are a very limited number of RV Resorts which feature extreme family fun & the RV is used only for a mobile bed. These have movie theaters, community pools, swim up bars, golf courses, zip lines & such.
Never stay at such, can afford real resorts with quality hotel rooms.

Jay French (@guest_22997)
5 years ago

I am the Louisiana camper, this means a bonfire every night, community barbecues/fish fry’s/crawfish boils & an outdoor TV usually on a LSU or Saints game, with lots of beer drinking. We cook outside community style every meal & everything we do is semi-organized chaos & fun.
We often come in groups of campers & make 1 particular campsite the social gathering spot.
However we are extremely friendly & other campers can wander in, make quick friends & participate with us. Often they will be invited to the next weeks event & can easily become 1 of the crowd.
This is the only time I use the camping resorts, the rest of the time National Parks & I always have a bonfire at night, cook all meals outdoors & barbecue. Plus my campsite is visitor friendly, stop by grab a cup of coffee, drink a cold beer, sit in a chair & chat.
We just fail to understand unfriendly type people who fear everything or have a hermit desire.

Teresa (@guest_22989)
5 years ago

OK.. Have to leave my “2” cents here. I am very guilty of enjoying a raging fire. I am new to the rv lifestyle…thus, the reason I subscribed to this site. Before reading and attempting to educate myself I did not understand nor even stop to consider that I was bothering anyone else. I just assumed a fire was part of being outdoors. I had never even heard that there was “fire edicate”. Some of us are not rude…just ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant. There is still hope for some of us!

Jay French (@guest_22998)
5 years ago
Reply to  Teresa

Ms. Teresa, girl you are not ignorant. If the campground you are using has a fire pit, use it. Generally speaking, don’t burn trash & douse your bonfire out late at night before you turn in is acceptable.
It is best if you don’t allow the kids to toss leaves into the fire or burn green wood as these create an abnormally large smoke.
If your neighbor stops by making demands that you extinguish a normal bonfire, explain to them that you are merely using the supplied fire pit & if it bothers them, they should move their camp to another spot.
For those who have allergies or despise campfire smoke, it is their responsibility to use those facilities where campfires are prohibited or request from the management prior to checking in for a camp spot that is furthest upwind.

JamesGangAZ (@guest_22939)
5 years ago

So we are building an RV Campground in the next year in Arizona. I really value your opinions and feedback. We have heard it all. From Adults only on one side of park, family friendly side, no pets and a pet friendly side. No campfires and campfires side. Our sites will be large enough to handle campfires as that is what WE hate the most. Small sites! So this just opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone likes campfires!
So how does an adult only, no pets, no campfire and no smoking area sound. Is this even possible?
What else would you all like to see??

Roy Ellithorpe (@guest_22962)
5 years ago
Reply to  JamesGangAZ

I think you will have to decide what your target market will be. I believe that trying to accommodate every demographic and idiosyncrasy
will bury you.

Bob Godfrey (@guest_22823)
5 years ago

How about simply being courteous? When you light the fire and the smoke heads directly into your neighbor’s rig 10 feet away do you feel responsible for that? I would. And then please don’t leave your site with the embers smoldering for the rest of the afternoon and the smoke continuing into the adjoining sites. It’s all about “responsibility” folks ! Yours!

Paul Goldberg (@guest_22787)
5 years ago

When we camped in a tent the campfire was for cooking and warmth, a necessity. We enjoyed it and put it out before turning in. Later when we were boondocking on beaches we got together with our neighbors and built a fire to sit around and chat. When we were ready to turn in we put it out. Now I have a fire pit lit by propane that provides the heat we want to sit out in our space and it doesn’t affect anyone else, except one lady who is multiply allergic to most everything and when she comes over we skip the fire, Warmth is inside. When we are on the road we try to find places where a campfire is not necessary for outdoor socialization.

Bill & Kitty BATEMAN (@guest_22775)
5 years ago

Out here in the west it is getting more and more rare to even be able to have a campfire in an organized campground OR boondocking from mid June thru October. Yeah, forest/wildland fires are the norm nowadays unfortunately for us all.

Natalie (@guest_22768)
5 years ago

Stayed in a small National Forrest Service campground on the coast of Oregon for 2 nights (was supposed to be 5 nights). Campers with adjacent sites across road brought a recently dug up tree stump, about 2 ½ ft wide x 2 ft high, plopped it atop the fire ring, built a fire under it and got it to partially burn. Thereafter it continued to smolder, emitting copious amounts of smoke which wafted around the entire campground night and day. I did ask them if they would either light a proper fire or extinguish the root-log to eliminate the smoke but that did not work. They said there were no restrictions on having a camp fire. Since the wind blew my way most of the time, I left after two nights because I had to keep windows and door closed all the time. What should have been a lovely camping experience in the woods was ruined by inconsiderate campers.

Billy Bob Thorton (@guest_22779)
5 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

Did they light up their campsite like day, with strings and strings of leds. Or, bring remote control cars for their kids to race around the campground. How about battery powers shooters for their bigger kids. You know, got to have every useless gadget, and live in a doublewide.

Ron (@guest_22759)
5 years ago

I also agree with no campfires in RV parks, but would have no problem with one in a campground or boondock location.
That said…..too often forest fires are started by those that are careless with or neglect to properly put out a campfire.

Michael McCracken (@guest_22751)
5 years ago

I deplore RV Parks that allow campfires. There is nothing quite like being next to a person who has the need to have a raging campfire within a few feet of your motorhome. When the wind is in your direction, it fills the air with suffocating smoke inside your motorhome. RV Parks are not “campgrounds”. I find this mostly happens when the summer vacationers decide to go camping with the kids. They need to find campgrounds in the woods or boondock. I don’t see where there is a need in RV Parks these days to have firepits in order to attract visitors. A simple firepit fuelled by propane would be a solution.

Billy Bob Thorton (@guest_22780)
5 years ago

It’s all about them dude. Get use to it, unless you think them escaping from their trailer park to act like jerks is going to change.

Jay French (@guest_23159)
5 years ago

I’m 1 of the “Them” you describe. I light a bonfire every evening.
Escape from my trailer park ?
Guess the closest I own to that category may be the condo on Isla de Mujeres although the “Snowbird” winter place on the golf course in Florida is only 2400 sq/ft.
Perhaps the “Jerks” instead are the unfriendly hermits or the whiny critic everything needing a Safe Space because words hurt.
But then I never stay in glorified parking lots where you can not open a canopy without it hitting a neighbors RV.

Brian m (@guest_22743)
5 years ago

How about just reducing air pollution in general with no campfires.

Linda Petersen (@guest_22742)
5 years ago

Non Smoking campgrounds would be awesome. We could actually enjoy the fresh air and a breeze though our RV with our RV windows open. Instead we are frequently forced to endure the carcinogens from our neighbors second hand smoke. And the stink lingers on after they throw their butts on the ground in their outdoor ashtray.
There is a CA. RV park we will NEVER stay at again as their pull thru are buddy.spaces, and our shared outdoor area consisted of 10 people gathering day and night to smoke, drink and yack..we left here early. A miserable experience.
It seems the smokers don’t want to fully enjoy their cigarettes and cigars by smoking them inside their RV with the windows and doors closed. Why? They could get the most smoke for their money that way.
I can’t count how many cigarette butts we have cleaned up from our campsites on arrival left behind by yet another inconsiderate smoker. ( Bad for pets too).

How about a pool to see if people would pay for non Smoking camp sites…just like so many now charge $2 for a pet?

rvgrandma (@guest_22736)
5 years ago

Campfires? What about BBQ? Nothing more irritating than sitting in your rig when the smell of those steaks come drifting through? I get so upset because it smells great and I am not invited to join in!

A few years ago, we were at a park that had one big campfire pit for any that wanted one – the only place in the park it was allowed. We had this great fire going, kids from throughout the park were roasting marshmallows and hot dogs when suddenly a neighbor appeared demanding we put it out. Turns out she had breathing problems. Despite that she purposely asked for the spot knowing the fire pit was right behind her. Management also knew her problem but let her have the spot every time she came. Unfortunately the fire had to be put out and many went home disappointed.

Gigi (@guest_22728)
5 years ago

I think the people who don’t like a campfire, the essence of camping should just stay at the expensive slabs. They are not really campers, this would leave the nice areas for the real campers.

Michael McCracken (@guest_22754)
5 years ago
Reply to  Gigi

Gigi, my suggestion is you stay out of RV Parks and go to Campgrounds. There you can join the other Campers and enjoy your campfire. Yes, you are correct us RV’s who choose to stay in “RV Parks”, are not campers. We enjoy having the convenience of traveling this country and staying in full-service RV Parks. For many of us, our RV is our home. We do not enjoy smelling our close neighbors smoke inside and outside our motorhomes. I camped in campgrounds for many years in tents where I could have a firepit, if I chose, and not force someone to smell my smoke.

Darrel (@guest_22802)
5 years ago
Reply to  Gigi

“Real campers” do not have RVs. “Real campers” do not use RV parks nor organized limited space campgrounds.

YOU do not get to define terms like “real” unless you want it returned upon you.


Mikey (@guest_109281)
2 years ago
Reply to  Darrel

SNOBS! All of you! This is NOT your world! It belongs to EVERYBODY.
Nobody has the right to tell or dictate to others how they should enjoy their own life. All of you needed to be taught respect and manners. That’s what happens when the government stopped parents from disciplining their kids. They ended up with a bunch of spoiled and hateful adults.

TP (@guest_22712)
5 years ago

A campfire is fine if you are in a campground in a state or national park where you have some room between sites. Most RV parks however are too small and the owners should consider installing propane or natural gas fire pits. they could add a $5 charge and no smell, no mess, and I bet they could get a propane supplier to cover some or all of the cost for the infrastructure if they signed a long term contract with them.

Bill Lampkin (@guest_22704)
5 years ago

So what’s the best Campfire APP for my SkyRocket 90ss SmartPhone??

PennyPA (@guest_22698)
5 years ago

I LOVE the smell of a campfire! However, I had lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) for emphysema 10 years ago and I’m living with less lung capacity than many others. Since I don’t want to aggravate the lungs that I have left, a campfire-free area of a campground would be nice. .. nice but not a law.

Ed (@guest_22691)
5 years ago

Would not be a problem if campers were considerate of others, but there are people who are just a pain in the {bleeped} and no matter what you do they are only in it for them self. If I start a camp fire and the smoke is hugging the ground to much, I put it out as I don’t want it to get into my unit and I am sure others don’t want it either.

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