How to build the perfect fire
A campfire is a necessary part of camping. It helps light our campsite up at night, boils water and cooks our food. Not only that, it’s the main ingredient in making s’mores, and it’s fun to gather around and tell scary ghost stories late at night!
Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous elements of camping.
So here are a few ways to keep the whole family safe.
- Bunch up a ball of frayed bark, dried grasses, and tiny twigs from a pine tree, evergreen, or other available tree along with your fire starting materials if you have them.
- Lay very small twigs and sticks—not much larger than the kindling—against one another and over the ball to form a teepee shape. Leave a small opening through which you can place the match to ignite the fire.
- Continue adding more wood, gradually longer and thicker (up to the width of two fingers). Maintain the shape of a teepee at all times.
- Once the teepee is built to your satisfaction, carefully strike a match, shield it from the wind, and place it next to the waiting ball of kindling to ignite it.
- You may now enjoy your perfect fire with family and friends!
- Always wear shoes. Stray embers will burn and can cause a serious foot injury.
- Start with small twigs and gradually add larger sticks. Be careful not to plop larger pieces of wood into the fire, sending burning ashes and sparks.
- Use pot grabbers with work gloves to remove pots.
- Keep nylon clothing, tents and sleeping gear away from the fire.
- Be very careful with children around an open flame. It is important to allow them to become involved with the building and maintaining of the campfire. It is crucially important that they realize fire building is serious business and not something for play. If they cannot take fire building seriously and are apt to play with flaming sticks, take away their fire-helping privileges. If parents set the proper example, the kids will develop a proper respect for the power of fire.
Cleaning up your fire
- A campfire should be attended at all times. If you are going to bed for the night or leaving your campsite, the fire should be completely extinguished.
- Make sure the your fire has completely cooled before you start the clean up process.
- Nothing should be left in the fire ring but ashes. If there is anything but ashes, that debris should be placed in the garbage.
- Refrain from adding additional wood to the flames approximately one hour before finishing the fire. Keep pushing the partially burned pieces of larger wood into the center or hottest coals of the fire. You may find that you need to add very small pieces of wood, twigs, and such, to keep the fire hot enough to consume any larger sections of wood.