by Justin Gray
Campfires. Along with a tent, this is the icon of camping and is the most important aspect of camping. Creating a campfire can be a fun and rewarding outdoor activity. However, it's important to do it safely and responsibly to prevent accidents and avoid harming the environment.
Items you'll need: wood, kindling, a shovel, a bucket of water and a flame (lighter or matches).
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make a campfire:
1. Check Regulations: Before starting a campfire, ensure that it is allowed in the area you are camping. Some locations might have fire bans due to dry conditions or other safety concerns. Getting caught with a campfire when it's not allowed can result in hefty fines and/or jail-time!
2. Choose the Right Location: Select a safe and suitable spot for your campfire. It should be at least 15 to 20 feet away from tents, trees, bushes, and other flammable materials. Look for a fire ring or designated fire pit if available.
3. Gather Firewood: Be sure it is legal to do so in your area. Collect firewood from the ground. Do not break branches or cut trees, as this can harm the environment and is often prohibited. Use deadwood that is no thicker than your wrist.
4. Prepare the Fire Pit: If there is no fire ring or designated area, create a fire pit. Clear away any debris and create a circle about 3 feet in diameter.
5. Line the Fire Pit: Line the bottom of the pit with rocks to prevent the fire from spreading.
6. Create a Tinder Nest: Gather some dry, highly flammable materials, such as dry grass, leaves, and small twigs. Arrange them in the center of the fire pit to create a tinder nest.
7. Build the Fire: Place small twigs and sticks over the tinder nest in a crisscross fashion, creating a small pyramid or tepee shape. This structure allows air to flow through and ignite the fire.
8. Ignite the Tinder: Use a lighter or matches to ignite the tinder nest from multiple points. Blow gently to encourage the flames.
9. Add Fuel Gradually: Once the fire is established, add larger sticks and branches as fuel. Gradually increase the size of the wood you add to maintain the fire.
10. Maintain and Extinguish: Keep a watchful eye on the fire at all times. Never leave it unattended. When you're ready to put out the fire, allow the wood to burn completely down to ashes. Pour water over the fire and stir the ashes with a stick to ensure everything is fully extinguished. Repeat this process until the ashes are cool to the touch.
11. Leave No Trace: As you leave the campsite, make sure the fire pit is clean and free of any debris. Disperse the ashes and return rocks to their original locations if you used them.
Remember, campfires should be made with caution and respect for nature and the environment. Always follow any specific guidelines or rules provided by the campsite or park you're visiting, and be sure to check for fire bans or restrictions in the area.
What are your tips/tricks to building a campfire?