Campfire 101

If you have never made a campfire before or just want to refine your skills, then this guide will give you insight into the do’s and dont’s for starting a campfire.

Fire is without a doubt the oldest more important discovery by man kind. It is also one of the most versatile tools, is a must have for any camping trip and has a relaxing calm sense about it.

Picking a spot for your fire

Fire is not something to play around with, dealing with it irresponsibly can and has seen the death of yourself, others, large quantities of wildlife and homes. So with that being said, lets discuss how to find an appropriate spot for your campfire.

Since fire and heat rises, the most important part of the bed of your fire is flat ground. Setting it up on the side of a hill means that your fire isn’t going to be contained, it will climb up the hill as soon as its lit. Secondly, make sure to clear any debris around where the fire will be established.

When you’ve picked a spot for the fire, surround the ‘fire pit’ with rocks. The rocks will help stop any burning logs rolling out, will contain the heat and in general help contain the fire. Be cautious of river rocks that may contain moisture as these may explode when heated by the fire. To greater increase the containment of the fire, consider digging a shallow pit where the fire is planted too.

even if you have your fire set away from vegetation and have set it up responsibly, you should always check that fire bans aren’t in place. Especially in summer, conditions can be too dangerous for an open flame. Check the RFS website here to check if you are affected by a fire ban.

Building the campfire

A campfire consists of three components. Tinder, kindling and fuel. Tinder is what you use to start the fire, it characteristically burns easily and fast, dry leaves, shavings and dry grass are examples of this.

Kindling is what you will ignite with the burning tinder. At this stage in the fire, large fuel such as logs will not ignite and instead smother the flame. Kindling consists of twigs the width of your little finger and smaller. if the kindling bends without breaking or shows signs of green, then it is too wet and not suitable.

Once the kindling is all burning, you can apply the fuel. Fuel is any wood larger than your kindling (typically the width of your wrist), apply the fuel progressively in size, starting with your smallest fuel. As the fuel is align you can apply more to the fire. Fuel is what will keep your fire burning.

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