Fire is perhaps the most primal comfort known to man, and nowhere is it more enjoyable than when you're camping. However, due to forest fire risks, not all campsites and public lands allow open fires, and those that do often have fire regulations. As a general rule, it's a good idea to check with the local authorities to find out what the fire rules are.
Most outdoor recreation areas permit the use of gas stoves, because when operated properly, they're generally a much slighter risk of forest fire than open fires. However, in some fire zones, campsites come equipped with designated cooking stations that are located on elevated surfaces.
If you're camping in a designated campground, it's better to use an existing fire ring instead of starting a new one. If no fire pit or ring exists, the U.S. Forest Service recommends digging a 1-foot (.30 meter) pit in a spot that is at least 15 feet (4.57 meters) from any trees, shrubs or tents. Before preparing the fire, clear a 10-foot (3.04-meter) diameter around the fire ring. If the fire ring isn't on raw earth, sand or gravel, make sure that the ground is damp before lighting a fire. After lighting a fire, keep an eye on the weather to make sure that strong gusts don't spread the fire beyond the fire ring. After lighting a fire, be sure to stay with it until it's completely extinguished [source: SmokeyBear.com].