Minimize Campfire Impacts


Sitting around a campfire, sharing stories, and enjoying the warmth is a cherished tradition among many, including local hikers, shepherds, and hunters in the Caucasus. However, the negative impacts of campfires, especially in sensitive or high-risk areas, necessitate thoughtful consideration.



  • If possible, avoid them. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Instead, use a lightweight stove for cooking and a headlamp for light.

If you must build a fire: 

  • Know which areas you can build campfires in and which ones you can’t. Be familiar with local laws and regulations. 
    • Outside of national parks and protected areas, you won’t find official regulations around campfires. In many national parks and protected areas, you’ll usually see signs regarding campfire use. Even though some people disregard the signs, please don’t be one of them!
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Don’t make new ones. 
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand, and avoid breaking a branch from a living tree. 
  • Don’t burn trash. This includes foil, plastic, glass, cans, tea bags, food, or anything with food on it. Trash burned in campfires attracts animals and releases toxic fumes.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes. When putting out the fire, douse with water, stir, and douse again, ensuring everything is cool to the touch.


Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to: 

  • Wildfires: Several areas in the Caucasus are prone to wildfires, especially during dry seasons. A stray spark, especially in regions with dry underbrush, can ignite a fire that quickly becomes uncontrollable.
  • Resource depletion. Excessive wood collection for fires can deplete local wood resources, depriving the environment of necessary organic matter that decays and replenishes the soil.
  • Landscape scarring: Building new campfires and making new fire rings around old ones can scar the landscape.
  • Vegetation depletion: Taking a branch from a living tree harms the tree and produces excessive smoke.